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Full text of "The history of the decline and fall of the Roman empire"

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http://archive.org/details/historyofdecline54gibb 



THE 



HISTORY 



OF 



THE DECLINE AND FALL 



OF THE 



ROMAN EMPIRE. 

BY 

EDWARD GIBBON, ESQ. 

WITH NOTES, 
BY THE KEV. H. H. MILMAN, 

PEEBENDARY OF ST. PETER'S, AND RECTOR OF ST. MARGARET'S, WESTMINSTER 

A NEW EDITION, 

TO WHICH IS ADDED 

A COMPLETE INDEX OF THE WPIOLE WORK. 

IN FIVE VOLUMES. 

VOL. II. 



PHILADELPHIA : 
PORTER & COATES, 



o 

CONTENTS OF THE SECOND VOLUME, 



CHAPTER XVri. 



FOUNDATION- OP CONSTANTINOPLE.— POLITICAL SYSTEM OP CONSTANTINE AND 
HIS SUCCESSORS.— MILITARY DISCIPLINE.— THE PALACE— THE FINANCES. 

A. D. PAGE. 

324. Design of a new Capitol 12 

Situation of liyzantium 13 

J )escription of Constantinople 13 

The Bosphorus 13 

The Port of Constantinople 14 

Tiie Propontis 15 

The Hellespont 16 

Advantages of Constantinople 18 

Foundation of the City 19 

Its Extent 20 

Progress of the Work 22 

Edifices ; 22 

Population 25 

Privileges 25 

330 or .331, Dedication 28 

300— 5()<». For Hi of Government in the Roman Empire 29 

Hierarchy of the State 30 

Thi-ee Ranks of Honor 31 

Four Divisions of Office 31 

1. The Consuls 32 

The Patricians 35 

II. The Praetorian Pra?fects 36 

Tlie Prefects of Rom j and Constantinople 38 

The Proconsuls, Vice Priefects, &c 40 

The Governors of the Provinces 41 

The Profession of the Law 43 

III. The .Military Officers 45 

Distinction of the Troops 47 

Reduction of the Legions 48 

Difficulty of Levies 50 

Increase of Barbarian Auxiliaries 51 

IV. Seven Ministers of the Palace !. 52 

1. The Chamberlain , ., 52 

2. The Master of the Offices 52 

3. The Quffistor 53 

4. The Public Treasurer 55 

5. The Private Treasurer 56 

6. 7. The Counts of the Domestics 57 

Agents, or Official Spies 57 

Use of Torture 58 

Tlie General Ti-ibute, or Indiction CO 

Finances 61 

Assessed in the Form of a Capitation 63 

Capitation on Trade and industry 68 

. Free Gifts 69 

Conclusion 70 



(1) 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XVIir. 

CHAllAOTEIi ()!•- CONSTANTINE. — GOTHIC WAR. — DEATH OF CONSTANTINE. — 

DIVISIOK OF THE KMPIRE AMONG HIS THREE SONS. — PERSIAN "NVAK 

TRAGIC DEATHS OF CONSTANTINE THE YOUNGER, AND CONSTANS. — USUB- 
PATION OF MAGNENTIUS.— CIVIL WAR.— VICTORY OF CONSTANTILS. 

A. D. PAGE. 

Character of Constantine 71 

His Virtues ^- 71 

Plis Vices 73 

His Family 74 

Virtues of Crispus 75 

324. Jealousy of Constantine ....-.., 76 

325. Edict of Cojistantins 77 

326. Disgrace and Death of Crispus 78 

The Empress Fausta 79 

The Sons and Nephews of Constantine 80 

Their Education 82 

Manners of the Sarmatians 83 

Their Settlement near the Danube 85 

331. The Gothic War ; . ; 86 

334. Expulsion of the Sarmatians 88 

337. Death and Funeral of Constantine 89 

Factions of the Court 90 

i\Iassacre of the Princes 91 

337. Division of the Empire 93 

310. Sapor, King of Persia 93 

State of ^Mesopotamia and Armenia 95 

342. Death of Tiridates 95 

337— 3Gu. The Persian War ^ 96 

348. Battle of Siiigara 98 

338. 34G. .350. Siege of XisiMs 100 

340. Civil War, and Death of Constantine 102 

Magnentius and Vetranio assume the Purple 103 

350. Murder of Constans lOf 

Coiistantius i-efuses to treat 105 

Deposes Vetranio 106 

351. Makes War against Magnentius 108 

Battle of Mufsa 109 

352. Conquest of Italy H^ 

353- Last Defeat and Death of Magnentius - •• 113 



CHAPTER XIX. 

CONSTANTIUS SOLE EMPEROR.— ELEVATION AND DEATH OF GALLUS.— DANGER 
AND ELEVATION OF JULIAN.— S ARM ATIAN AND PERSIAN WARS.— VICTORIES 
OF JULIAN IN GAUL. 

Power of the Eunuchs 11^ 

Education of Gallns and Julian 11^ 

351. Gp.IIus declared Caesar 1|^ 

Cruelty and Imprudence of Gallns 11^ 

354. Ma;^s;icre of the Imperial ^Ministers l^J 

I)angeroas Situation of Galius 1^.^ 

His Disgrace and Death ■. ^^^^ 

The Danger and Escape of Julian 1^3 

355. He is sent to Athens j-^ 

Recalled to :\rilan... {;2 

Declared Caesar i-' 

Fatal End of Svlvanus !nx 



357. Constantius visits Rome. 



129 



A new Obelisk ^'l\ 

357, 358, 359. The Quadian and Sarmatian War 1^2 

358. The Persian Negotiation 13o 



CONTEXTS. 3 

A. D. PAGE. 

359. Invasion of Mesopotamia by Sapor 137 

Siege of Amida 138 

360. Siege of Siugara 141 

Conduct of Uie Romans 143 

Invasion of Gaul by the Germans 143 

Conduct of Julian 146 

356. His lirst Campaign iu Gaul 146 

357. His second Campaign 147 

Battle of Strasburgli 149 

358. Julian subdues the Franks ; 151 

357, 358, 359. Makes three Expeditions beyond the Khine 152 

Kestores the Cities of Gaul 154 

Civil Administration of Julian 155 

Description of Paris 157 



CHAPTER XX. 

THE MOTIVES, PROGRESS, A^'D EFFECTS OF THE CONVERSION" OF COXSTAN- 
TINE,— LEGAL ESTABLISHMENT AND CONSTITUTION OF THE CHRISTIAN, Oli 
CATHOLIC, CHURCH. 

306 — 337. Date of the Conversion of Constantino 159 

His Pagan Superstition 161 

306—312. He protects the Christians of Gaul 1C2 

313. Edict of Milan 163 

Use and Beauty of the Christian Morality 163 

Tlicory and Practice of i)assive Obedience 165 

Divine Right of Constantine 167 

324. General Edict of Toleration 168 

Loyalty and Zeal of the Christian Party 108 

Expectation and Belief of a Miracle 169 

I. The Labarum, or Standard (<f the Cross. 171 

II. The Dream of Constantine 172 

III- Appearance of a Cross in tfie Sky 175 

The Conversion of Constantine might be sincere 176 

The fourth Eclogue of Virgil 178 

Devotion and Privileges of Constantine 179 

Delay of his Baptism till the Approach of Death 180 

Propagation of Christianity 182 

312—438. Change of the national Religion 185 

Distinction of the spiritual and temporal Powers 185 

State of the Bishops under the Christian Emperors 186 

I. Election of Bishops 187 

II. Ordination of the Clergy 191 

III. Property 192 

IV. Civil Jurisdiction — 11)4 

V. Spiritual Censures 196 

VI. Freedom of public Preaching 197 

VII. Privilege of legislative Assemblies 199 



CHAPTER XXI. 

PERSECUTION OF HERESY. — THE SCHISM OF THE DONATISTS. — THE ARIAN 
CONTROVERSY. — ATHANASIUS. — DISTRACTED STATE OF THE CHURCH AND 
EMPIRE UNDER CONSTANTINE AND HIS SONS.— TOLERATION OF PAGANISM. 

312. African Controversy 201 

315. Schism of the Dona'tists 204 

The Trinitarian Controversy 205 

A. C. 

360. The Svstem of Plato ?^R 

The Logos 206 

300. Taught in the School of Alexandria 208 



4 CONTENTS. 

A. D. PAGE. 

97. Revealed by tlio Apostle St. John 209 

The Ebiojiites and Docetes 211, 212 

]\Iystoiious Nature of tJie Trinity 213 

Zeal of the Christians 214 

Authority of the Church 216 

Factions 217 

318. Heterodox Opinions of Arius 217 

Three Systems of the Trinity 218 

1. Arianism 218 

II. Tritheii^m 219 

III. Sabellianism 219 

325. Council of Nice 220 

The Uomoousion 220 

Arian Creeds , 222 

Ariau Sects 224 

Faith of the Western, or Latin, Church 226 

360. Council of Kimini 226 

Conduct of the Emperors in the Arian Controversy 227 

324. Indifference of Constantine 227 

325. His Zeal 228 

328—337. He persecutes the Arian and the Orthodox Party 229 

337 — 361. Constantius favors the Arians 230 

Arian Councils 232 

Character and Adventures of Athanasius 234 

330. Persecution against Athanasius 236 

336. His lirst Exile 238 

341. His Second Exile 239 

349. His llestorai ion 241 

351. Resentment of Constantius 242 

353—355. Councils of Aries and Milan 244 

355. Condemnation of Athanasius 245 

Exiles 246 

356. Third Expulsion of Athanasius from Alexandria 247 

His Behavior 249 

356—362. His Retreat 250 

Arian Bishops * 253 

Divisions 254 

I. Rome 255 

II. Constantinople 256 

Cruelty of the A rians 258 

345. &c. The Revolt and Fury of the Donatist Circumcellions 260 

Their religious Suicides 262 

312—361. General Character of the Christian Sects 262 

Toleration of Paganism by Constantine 263 

By his Sons 265 



CHAPTER XXn. 

JULIAN IS DECLARED "EMPEROR BY THE LEGIOXS OF GAFL. — HIS MARCH 
AND SUCCESS. — THE DEATH OF CONSTANTIUS. — CIVIL ADMINISTRATION OF 
JULIAN. 

The Jealousy of Constantius against Julian 269 

Fears and Envy of Constantius 270 

360. The Legions of" Gaul are ordered to march into the East 271 

Their Discontents 273 

They proclaim Julian Emperor •• • 274 

His Protestations of Innocence 276 

His EmbaFsv to Constantius 2(7 

3fi0— 361. His fourth and fifth Expeditions beyond the Rhine 278 

361. Fruitless Treaty and Declaration of War 2.9 

Julian prepares to nttaek Coiistantins 282 

His IMavch from tlie Rhine into lllyricum 285 

He jtistifies his Cause 286 

Hostile Preparations 287 

.S61. Death of Constantius 288 

361. Julian enters Constantinople 289 



CONTENTS. 5 

A. D. PAGE. 

361 . Is acknowledged by the whole Empire 289 

His civil Go veriimeiit and private Life 290 

Kef ormati( )n of the Palace 292 

Chamber of Justice 295 

Punishment of the Innocent and the Guilty 290 

Clemency of J u) i;in 298 

His Love of Freedom and the Republic 299 

His Care of the Gre<ian Cities 300 

Julian an Orator and a Judge 301 

His Character 303 



. CHAPTER XXIII. 

THE RELIGIOX OF JULIAN'.— UNIVERSAL TOLERATION.— HE ATTEMPTS TO RE- 
STORE AXD REFORM THE PAGAN WORSHIP. — TO REBUILD THE TEMPLE OP 
JERUSALEJI. — HIS ARTFUL PERSECUTION OF THE CHRISTIANS. — MUTUAL 
ZEAL AND INJUSTICE. 

Religion of Julian 304 

351. His Education and Apostasy 305 

He embraces the Mvthology of Paganism 307 

The Allegories ". 309 

Theological System of eJulian . 310 

Fanaticism of the Philosophers 312 

Initiation and Fanaticism of Julian 312 

His religious Dissimulation 313 

He writes against Christianity 315 

3GI. Universal Toleration 316 

361 — 363. Zeal and Devotion of Julian in the Restoration of Paganism 318 

Reformation of Paganism 319 

The Philosophers 321 

Conversions 323 

The Jews 325 

Description of Jerusalem 325 

Pilgrimages 326 

363. Julian attempts to rebuild the Temple .329 

The Enterprise is defeated 330 

Perhaps by a preternatural Event 331 

Partiality of Julian 333 

He prohibits the Christians from teaching Schools 334 

Disgrace and Oppression of the Christians 3.35 

They are condemned to restore the Pagan Temples 336 

The Temple and sacred Grove of Daphne 338 

Neglect and Profanation of Daphne 339 

362. Removal of the dead Bodies, and Conflagration of the Temple 340 

Julian shuts the Cathedral of Antioch 341 

George of Cappadocia oppresses Alexandria and Egypt 342 

361. He is massacred by the People 313 

He is worshipped as a Saint and Martyr. . 344 

362. Restoration of Athanasius 345 

He is persecuted and expelled by Julian .347 

361 — 363. Zeal and Imprudeiice of the Christians 347 



CHAPTER XXIY. 

RESIDENCE OF JULIAN AT ANTIOCH. — HIS SUCCESSFUL EXPEDITION AGAINST 
THE PERSIANS.— PASSAGE OF THE TIGRIS.— THE RETREAT AND DEATH OF 
JULIAN. — ELECTION OF JOVIAN. — HE SAVES THE ROMAN ARMY BV A DIS- 
GRACEFUL TREATY. 

Tlie Caesars of Julian 3r>l 

362. He resolves to march against the Persians 353 

Julian proceeds from Constantinople to Antioch 354 

Licentious Manners of the People of Antioch 354 

Their Aversion to Julian 355 



6 COXTEXTS. 

A. D. PAGE. 

Scarcity of Corti , and public Discontent ." 356 

Julian composes a Satire against Antioch 357 

344—300. The Sophist Libanius 358 

3Go. ]Marcli of Julian to the Euphrates 359 

His Design of invading Tersia 361 

Disaffection of the King of Annenia 362 

^Military Preparations 363 

Juliau enters the Persian Territories. 365 

His March over the Desert of Mesopotamia 366 

His Succe^s 367 

Description of Assyria 3C8 

363. Divasion of Assyria 369 

Siege of Perisabor 370 

Siege of Maogamalcha 371 

Personal Behavior of Julian 373 

He transports his Fleet from the Euphrates to the Tigris 376 

Passage of the Tigris, and Victory of the Romans 377 

Situation and Obstinacy of Julian 379 

He burns his Fleet .- 381 

Marches against Sapor 383 

Ketreat and Distress of the Komau Army 384 

Julian is mortally wounded 387 

363. Death of Julian 389 

Election of the Emperor Jovian 391 

Danger axid Difficulty of the Petreat 392 

Negotiation and Treaty of Peace 3! 5 

The Weakness and Disgrace of Jovian 3S6 

He continues his Retreat to Nisibis 398 

Universal Clamor against the Treaty of Peace 3t9 

Jovian evacuates Nisibis, and restores the five Provinces to the Per- 
sians 401 

Reflections on the Death of Juliau 402 

On his Funeral 403 



CHAPTER XXV. 

THE GOVERXMEXT AND DEATH OF JOVIAN.— ELECTION OF VALENTIXIAN, WHO 
ASSOCIATES HI" BROTHER VALENS, AND MAKES THE FINAL DIVISION OF 
THE EASTERN AND WESTERN EMPIRES. — REVOLT OF PROCOPIUS. — CIVIL 
AND EC» LESIASTIOAL ADxMINISTRATION.— GERMAN V.— BRITAIN.— AFRICA.— 
THE EAST.— THE DANUBE.— DEATH OF VALENTINIAN.— HIS TWO SONS, GRA- 
TIAN AND VALENTINIAN II. SUCCEED TO THE WESTERN EMPIRE. 

363. State of the Church 404 

Jovian proclaims universal Toleration 406 

His Progress from Antioch ;*-U;" •; i*V" ^07 

364. Jovian, with his infant Son, assumes the Name and Ensigns of the 

Consulship 408 

364. Death of Jovian 408 

A'aoancv of the Throne 409 

364. Electioii and Character of Valentinian 410 

He is acknowledged by the Army 411 

Associates his Brother Valens y^ 

364. The final Division of the Eastern and Western Empires 415 

36.">. Revolt of Procopius ■j|4 

.3fi6. His Defeat and Dea'h .-•••• 4D 

373. Severe Inquisition into the Crime of Magic at Rome and Antioch 419 

3(j4_37.5. The Cruelty of Valentinian and Valens 422 

Their Laws andGovernment 'J--4 

Valentinian maintains the religious Toleration ... 426 

367—378. Valens professes Arianism, and persecutes the Catholics 427 

373. Deatli of Athanasius 429 

Just Idea of the Persecution of Valens 429 

370. Valentinian restrains the Avarice of the Clergy 431 

360— :W4. A mbition and Luxury of Damasus, Bishop of Rome 432 

3&4— 375. Foreign Wars. 434 



CONTENTS. 7 

A. D. PAGE. 

365. I. Germany. The Alemanni invade Gaul 435 

366. Their Defeat 436 

868. Valeiitiuiau passes, and fortifies, the Rhine ,...*.... 437 

371. The Bui gundians 439 

The Saxcns 441 

11. B RiT Aix. The Soots and Plots 444 

313— 3G6. Their Invasion of Britain 446 

367 — 370. Restoration of Britain by Theodosius 448 

366. III. Africa. Tyranny of Romanus 450 

372. Revolt of Firmus 451 

373. Theodosius recovers Africa 454 

376. He is executed at Carthage 451 

State of Africa 4.15 

365—378. IV. The East. The Persian War 456 

384. The Treaty of Peace 459 

Adventures of Para, King of Armenia 460 

V. The Danube. Conquests of Herman ric 462 

366. The Cause of the Gothic War 4G3 

367, 368, 369. Hostilities and Peace 465 

374. War of the Quad! and Sarniatians 467 

375. The Expedition of Valentinian 409 

His Death 470 

The Emperors Gratian and Valentinian II 471 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

MANNERS OP THE PASTORAL NATIONS.— PROGRESS OF THE HUNS FROM CHINA 
TO EUROPE.— FLIGHT OF THE GOTHS.— THEY PASS THE DANUBE.— GOTHIC 
WAR.— DEFEAT AND DEATH OF VALENS.— GRATIAN INVESTS TH-EODOSIUS 
WITH THE EASTERN EMPIRE. — HIS CHARACTER AND SUCCESS.— PEACE AND 
SETTLEMENT OF THE GOTHS. 

3f 5 Earthquakes 473 

370. The Huns and Goths 474 

Tlie pastoral Planners of the Scythians, or Tartars 475 

Diet 476 

Habitations 477 

Exercises 480 

Government 481 

Situation and Extent of Scythia, or Tartary 483 

Original Seat of the Huns 486 

Their Conquests in Scythia 487 

A. C. 

201. Their Wars with the Chinese 488 

141—87. Decline and Fall of the Huns 489 

A. D, 

100. Their Emigrations 491 

The Wliite Huns of Sogdiana 492 

The Huns of the Volga 493 

Tlieir Conquest of the Alani 494 

375. Their Victories over the Goths 496 

376. The Goths implore the Protection of Valens 498 

They are transported over the Danube into the Roman Empire 500 

Tlieir Distress and Discontent 503 

Revolt of the Goths in Maisia, and their first Victories .504 

Thejy penetrate into Thrace 506 

377. Operations of the Gothic War .508 

Union of the Goths with the Huns, Alani, &c 510 

378. Victory of Gratian over the Alemanni 512 

Valens marchi^s against the Goths 514 

Battle of Hadrianople 516 

The Defeat of the Romans 517 

Death of the Emperor Valens 518 

Funeral Oration of Valens and his Army 518 

The Goths besiege Hadrianople 519 



O CONTENTS. 

A. T). PAGE. 

378, 379. They ravage the Roman Provinces 521 

378. Massacre of the Gothic Youth in Asia 523 

379. 'PLa Emperor Gratian invests Theodosius with the Empire of the East 524 
Birth and Character of Theodosius 525 

379—382. His prudent and successful Conduct of the Gothic War 527 

Divisions, Defeat, and .Submission of the Goths 529 

381. Death and Funeral of Athanaric 532 

385. Invasion and Defeat of the Gruthungi, or Ostrogoths 532 

383 — 3!»5. Settlement of the Goths in Thrace and Asia 534 

Their hostile Sentiments 536 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

DEATH OF GRATTAX — RUTN OF ARIANISM.— ST, AMBROSE.— FIRST CIVrL WAR 
AGAINST MAXIMUS.— CHARACTER, ADMINISTRATIOX, AND PENANCE OF THE- 
ODOSIUS. — DEATH OF VALENTINIAN 11.- SECOND CIVIL WAR AGAINST EU- 
GENIUS.— DEATH OF THEODOSIUS. 

379—383. Character and Conduct ot the Emperor Gratian 538 

His Defects .^.38 

383. Discontent of the Roman Troops 540 

Revolt of Maximiis in Britain 541 

383. Flight and Death of Gratian 542 

383 — 387 Treaty of Peace between Maximus and Theodosius 544 

380. Baptism and Ortlioilox Edicts of Theodosius 546 

340—380. Arianism of Constantinople .. 547 

378. Gregory Nazianzen accepts the Mission of Constantinople 549 

380. Kuin of Arianism at Constantinople 5r)l 

381. Ruin of Arianism in the East 5r)2 

The Council of Constantinople 553 

Retreat of (iregory Nazianzen 5.')5 

380—394. Edicts of Theodosius against the Heretics ;. 556 

385. Execution of Priscillian and his Associates 558 

374—397. Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan 560 

385. His successful Opposition to the Empress Justina 561 

387. Maxinms invades Italy 566 

Flight of Valentinian 567 

Theodosius takes Arms in the Cause of Valentinian 567 

388. Defeat and Death of Maximus 569, 570 

Virtues of Theodosius 570 

Faults of Theodosius 572 

387. The Sedition of Antioch 673 

Clemency of Theodosius 575 

390. Sedition and iNIassacre of Thessalonica 576 

380. Influence and Conduct of Ambrose 578 

390. Penance of Theodosius 579 

38R — 391. Generosity of Theodosius 581 

391. Character of Valentinian 581 

392. His Death 583 

392—394. Usurpation of Engenius 584 

Theodosius prepares for War 585 

394. His Victory over Eugenius 588 

395. Death of theodosius 589 

Corruption of the Times 590 

The Infantry lay aside their Armor 591 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

FINAL DESTRUCTIOX OF PAGANISM. — INTRODUCTION OF THE WORSHIP OF 
SAINTS AND RELICS AMONG THE CHRISTIANS. 

A. D. PAGE. 

378—395, The Destruction of the Pagan Religion 592 

State of Paganism at Koine 593 

384. Petition of the Senate for the Altar of Victory 595 

3S8. Conversion of Rome 596 

381. De ^tr uction of llie Temples in the Provinces 600 

The Temple of Serapis at Alexandria 603 

389. Its final Destruction 603 

390. The Pagan Religion is prohibited 607 

Oppr(;ssed 608 

390— 4'iO. Finally extinguislied 610 

The Worship oE the Cliristian Martyrs 613 

General Kellections 615 

I. Fabulous Martyrs and Relics 615 

II. Miracles 615 

III. Revival of Polytheism 617 

IV. Introduction of Pagan Ceremonies 619 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

FINAL DIVISION OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE BETWEEN THE SONS OF THEODOSIUS. 
— REIGN OF ARCADIUS AND HONOUUIS.— ADMINISTRATION OF RUFINUS AND 
STILICHO.— RKVOLT AND DEFEAT OF GILDO IN AFRICA. 

395. Division of the Empire between Arcadius and Honorius 621 

386 — 305. Cliaracter and Administration of Rulinus 622 

395. He oppresses the I'^ast 625 

He is disappoint 'd by the Marriage of Arcadius 627 

Character of Slilicho, the Minister and General of the Western Em- 
pire 629 

385 — 40S. His Military Command 630 

395. The Fall and Death of Rutinus G:',3 

396. Discord of the two Empires 634 

386—398. Revolt of Gildo in Africa 6.36 

397. He is condemned by the Roman Senate 638 

398. The African War 6.']8 

398. Defeat and Death of Gildo 641 

398. Marriage and Character of Honorius 642 



CHAPTER XXX. 

REVOLT OF THE GOTHS. — THEY PLUNDER GREECE. — TWO GREAT INVASIONS OF 
ITALY BY ALARIC AND RADAG AISUS.— THEY ARE REPULSED BY STILICHO. 
— THE (iERMANS OVERRUN GAUL. — USURPATION OF CONSTANTINE IN THE 
WEST.— DISGRACE AND DEATH OF STILICHO. 

395. Revolt of the Goths 646 

396. A laric' marches into Greece 647 

397. He is attacked by Stilicho 650 

Escapes to Epirus . . .- ()51 

398. Alaric i- declared IMaster-General of the Eastern lllyricum 652 

Is proclaimed King of the Visigoths 653 

400—403. He invMdes Italy 653 

403. Honorius tiins from Milan 655 

He is pursued and besieged by the Goths 656 

403. Battle of Polientia 658 



10 CONTENTS. 

A. D. PAGE. 

Boldness and Retreat of Alaric 659 

404. The Triumph of Honorius at Rome 662 

The G lailiators abolished 663 

Hoiiorius tixes his Residence at Ravenna 664 

400. The Revolutions of Seythia 666 

405. Emigration of tlie Northern Germans 667 

406. Radagaisu? invades Jtaly 609 

Radagaisus besieges Florence 670 

Ra<lag;iisus ihreMtens Rome 670 

400. Defeat and Destruction ot his Army by Stilicho 670 

The Remainder ot the Germans invade Gaul 673 

407. Desolation of Gaul 674 

Revolt ot the British Army 677 

Constantine is acknowledged in Britain and Gaul 677 

408. He reduces Spain 679 

404—408. Negotiation of Alaric and Stilicho 680 

408. Debates of the Roman Senate 682 

I Ktrigues ot the Palace 683 

408. Disgrace and Di ath of Stilicho 684 

His Memory persecuted 686 

The Poet Claudian among the Train of Stilicho's Dependants 688 



THE HISTORY 

OF 

THE DECLINE AND FALL 

OF THE 

ROMAN EMPIRE. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

FOUNDATION^ OF CONSTANTINOPLE. POLITICAL SYSTEM OF 

CONSTANTINE, AND HIS SUCCESSORS. MILITARY DISCI- 
PLINE. THE PALACE. THE FINANCES. 

The unfortunate Licinius was the last rival who opposed 
the greatness, and the last captive who adorned the triumph, 
of Constantine. After a tranquil and prosperous reign, the 
conqueror bequeathed to his family the inheritance of the 
Roman empire ; a new capital, a new policy, and a new 
religion ; and the innovations which he established have been 
embraced and consecrated by succeeding generations. The 
age of the great Constantine and his sons is filled with impor- 
tant events ; but the historian must be oppressed by their 
number and variety, unless he diligently separates from each 
other the scenes which are connected only by the order of 
time. He will describe the political institutions that gave 
Strength and stability to the empire, before he proceeds to 
relate the wars and revolutions which hastened its decline. 
He will adopt the division unknown to the ancients of civil 
and ecclesiastical affairs ; the victory of the Christians, and 
their mtestine discord, will supply copious and distinct mate- 
rials both for edification and for scandal. 

After the defeat and abdication of Licinius, his victorious 
rival proceeded to lay the foundations of a city destined to 



12 . THE DECLINE AND FALL 

reign in future times, the mistress of the East, and to survive 
the empire and religion of Constantine. The motives, wheth- 
er of pride or of pohcy, which first induced Diocletian to 
withdraw himself from the ancient seat of government, had 
acquired additional weight by the>xample of liis successors, 
and the habits of forty years. Rome was insensibly con- 
founded with the dependent kingdoms which had once ac- 
knowledged her supremacy ; and the country of the Caesars 
was viewed with cold indifference by a martial prince, born 
in the neighborhood of the Danube, educated in the courts 
and armies of Asia, and invested with the purple by the 
leo'ions of Britain. The Italians, who had received Con- 
stantine as their deliverer, submissively obeyed the edicts 
which he sometimes condescended to address to the senate 
and people of Rome ; but they were seldom honored with 
the presence of their new sovereign. During the vigor of 
his age, Constantine, according to the various exigencies of 
peace and war, moved with slow dignity, or with active 
diligence, along the frontiers of his extensive dominions ; 
and was always prepared to take the field either against a 
foreign or a domestic enemy. But as he gradually reached 
the summit of prosperity and the decline of life, he began to 
meditate the design of fixing in a more permanent station 
the strength as well as majesty of the throne. In the choice 
of an advantageous situation, he preferred the confines of 
Europe and Asia ; to curb with a powerful arm the barbarians 
who dwelt between the Danube and the Tanais ; to watch 
with an eye of jealousy the conduct of the Persian monarch, 
who indignantly supported the yoke of an ignominious treaty. 
With these views, Diocletian had selected and embellished 
the residence of Nicomedia : but the memory of Diocletian 
was justly abhorred by the protector of the church ; and 
Constantine was not insensible to the ambition of founding 
a city which might perpetuate the glory of his own name. 
During the late operations of the war against Licinius, he had 
sufficient opportunity to contemplate, both as a soldier and 
as a statesman, the incomparable position of Byzantium ; and 
to observe how strongly it was guarded by nature against a 
hostile attack, whilst it was accessible on every side to the 
benefits of commercial intercourse. Many ages before Con- 
stantine, one of tlie most judicious historians of antiquity^ 

1 Polybius, 1, iv. p. 423, edit. Casaubo-n. Ho obseryes tbat the peace of the By- 
zantines was frequently disturbed, and tbe extent of their territory contracted, 
by the inroads of the wild Thracians. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 13 

had described the advantages of a situation, from whence a 
feeble colony of Greeks derived the command of the sea, and 
the honors of a flourishing and independent republic.^ 

If we survey Byzantium in the extent which it acquired 
with the august name of Constantinople, the figure of the 
Imperial city may be represented under that of an unequal 
triangle. The obtuse point, which advances towards the 
east and the shores of Asia, meets and repels the waves of 
the Thracian Bosphorus. The northern side of the city is 
bounded by the harbor ; and the southern is washed by the 
Propontis, or Sea of Marmora. The basis of the triangle is 
opposed to the west, and terminates the continent of Europe. 
But the admirable form and division of the circumjacent 
land and water cannot, without a more ample explanation, be 
clearly or sufficiently understood. 

The winding channel through which the waters of the 
Euxine How with a rapid and incessant course towards the 
Mediterranean, received the appellation of Bosphorus, a 
name not less celebrated in the history, than in the fables, of 
antiquity.^ A crowd of temples and of votive altars, pro- 
fusely scattered along its steep and woody banks, attested 
the unskilfulness, the terrors, and the devotion of the Grecian 
navigators, who, after the example of the Argonauts, ex- 
plored the dangers of the inhospitable Euxine. On these 
banks tradition long preserved the memory of the palace of 
Phineus, infested by the obscene harpies ;* and of the sylvan 
reign of Amycus, who defied the son of Leda to the combat 
of the cestus.^ The straits of the Bosphorus are terminated 
by the Cyanean rocks, which, according to the description of 

2 The navigator Byzas, who was styled the son of Neptune, founded the city 
656 years before tlie Christian era. His followers were drawn from Argos and 
Megara. Byzantium was afterwards rebuilt andfortitied by the Spartan general 
Pausaniixs. See Scaliger, Animadvers. ad Euseb. p. 81. Dueange. Constantinopo- 
lis, 1. i. parti cap. 1"), lO. With regard to the wars of the Byzantines against 
Philip, the Gauls, ami the kings of Bithynia, we should trust none but the ancient 
writers who lived before the greatness of the Imperial city had excited a spirit of 
flattery and fiction. 

^ The Bosphorus has been very minutely described by Dionysius of Byzan- 
tium, who lived in the time of Domitian (Hudson, Geograph. Minor, torn, iii.), 
and by Gilles or Gylius, a French traveller of the XVIth century. Tournefort 
(Lettre XV.) seems to have used his own eyes, and the learning of Gyllius. (Add 
Von Hammer, Constantinopolis und derBosporos, 8vo.— M.] 

4 There are very few conjectures so happy as that of Le Clerc (Biblioth^que 
TJniverselle, torn. i. p. 148), who supposes that the harpies were only locusts. 
The Syriac or PlKienician name of those insects, their noisy flight, the stench and 
devastation which they occasion, and the north wind which drives them into the 
sea, all contribute to form the striking resemblance. 

•' The residence of Amycus was in Asia, between the old and the new castles, 
at a place called Laurus Insana. That of Phineus was in Europe, near the vil- 
lage of Mauromole and the Black Sea. See Gyllius de Bosph. 1. ii. c. 23. Tourne- 
fort, Lettre XV. 



14 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the poets, had once floated on the face of tlie waters ; and 
were destined by the gods to protect the entrance of the 
Euxine against the eye of profane curiosity.^ From the 
Cyanean rocks to the point and harbor of Byzantium, the 
winding length of the Bosphorus extends about sixteen miles,' 
and its most ordinary breadth may be computed at about one 
mile and a half. The nev3 castles of Europe and Asia are 
constructed, on either continent, upon the foundations of 
two celebrated temples, of Serapis and of Jupiter Urius. 
The old castles, a work of the Greek emperors, command 
the narrowest part of the channel, in a place where the 
opposite banks advance within five hundred paces of each 
other. These fortresses were restored and strengthened by 
Mahomet the Second, when he meditated the siege of Con- 
stantinople : ^ but the Turkish conqueror was most probably 
ignorant that, near two thousand years before his reign, 
Darius had chosen the same situation to connect the two 
continents by a bridge of boats.^ At a small distance from 
the old castles we discover the little town of Chrysopolis, or 
Scutari, which may almost be considered as the Asiatic 
suburb of Constantinople. The Bosphorus, as it begins to 
open into the Propontis, passes between Byzantium and Chal- 
cedon. The latter of those cities was built by the Greeks, 
a few years before the former ; and the blindness of its found- 
ers, who overlooked the superior advantages of the opposite 
coast, has been stigmatized by a proverbial expression of 
contempt.^^ 

The harbor of Constantinople, which may be considered 
as an arm of the Bosphorus, obtained, in a very remote 
period, the denomination of the Golden Horn. The curve 
which it describes might be compared to the horn of a stag, 

c The deception was occasioned by several pointed rocks, alternately covered 
and abandoned by the waves. At present there are two small islands, one to- 
wards either shore ; that of Europe is distin<:uished by the column of Ponipey. 

7 The ancients computed one hundred and twenty stadia, or tifteen Koiiian 
miles. They measured only from the new castles, but they carried the straits as 
far as the town of Chalcedon, 

8 Ducas. Hist. c. 34. Leunclavius Hist. Turcica Mussulmanica, 1. xv. p. 577. 
Under the Greek empire these castles were used as state prisons, under the 
tremendous name of Lethe, or towers of oblivion. 

Darius engraved in Greek and Assyrian letters, on two marble columns, the 
names of his subject nations, and the amazing numbers of his land and sea forces. 
The Byzantines afterwards transported these columns into the city, and used 
them for the altars of their tutelar deities. Herodotus, 1. iv. c. 87. 

1^ Namque arctissimo i2\Ler Europam ASiamque divortio Byzantium in extreme 
Europa posuei-e Greci, quibus, Pythium Apollinem consulentibus ubi conderent 
urbeni, redditum oraculum est, quajrerent redem ccecorum terris adversam. Ea 
ambage Chalcedonii monstrabantur, quod i^riores illuc advecti, prsevisa locoruru 
utilitate pejora legissent. Tacit. Anal. xii. G3. 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 15 

or as it should seem, with more propriety, to that of an ox.^^ 
The epithet of golden was expressive of tlie riches whicli 
every wind wafted from the most distant countries into the 
secure and ca])acious port of Constantinople. The lliver 
Lycus, formed by tlie conflux of two little streams, pours 
into the harbor a perpetual supply of fresh water, which 
serves to cleanse the bottom, and to invite the periodical 
shoals of fish to seek their retreat in that convenient recess. 
As the vicissitudes of tides are scarcely felt in those seas, 
the constant depth of the harbor allows goods to be landed 
on the quays without the assistance of boats ; and it has 
been observed, that in many places the largest vessels may 
rest their prows against the houses, while their sterns are 
floating in the water.^'-^ From the mouth of the Lycus to 
that of the harbor, this arm of the Bosphorus is more than 
seven miles in length. The entrance is about five hundred 
yards broad, and a strong chain could be occasionally 
thrown across it, to guard the port and city from the 
attack of a hostile navy.^^ 

Between the Bosphorus and the Hellespont, the shores 
of Europe and Asia, receding on either side, enclose the sea 
of Marmara, which was known to the ancients by the de- 
nomination of Propontis. The navigation from the issue of 
the Bosphorus to the entrance of the Hellespont is about 
one liundred and twenty miles. Those who steer their 
westward course through the middle of the Propontis, may 
at once descry the high lands of Thrace and Bithynia, and 
never Jose sight of the lofty summit of Mount Olympus, 
covered with eternal snows.-^"* They leave on the left a deep 
gulf, at the bottom of which Nicomcdia was seated, the Im- 
perial residence of Diocletian ; and they pass the small 
islands of Cyzicus and Proconnesus before they cast anchor 
at Gallipoli ; where the sea, which separates Asia froni 
Europe, is again contracted into a narrow channel. 

" Strabo, 1. vii. p. 492 [edit. Casaubl. Most of the antlers are now broken off ; 
or, to speak less li.Miiaiively, most of tlie recesses of the harbor are tilled up. See 
Gill, de Bosphoru Thrac-io, 1. i. c. 5. 

1- Procopius de ^diticiis, 1, 1. c, 5. His description is confirmed by modern 
travellers. See Theveuot, part i. 1. i. c. 15. Tournefort, Lettre XII. Niebuhr 
Voyage d'Arabie, p. 22, 

'•^ See Ducange, C, P. 1. i. part i. c, 16, and his Observations sur Villehardouin, 
p. 289. The chain was drawn from the Acropolis near the modern Kiosk, to the 
tower of Galata ; and was supported at convenient distances by large wooden 
piles. 

1* Thevenot (Voyages au Levant, part i. 1. i. c, 14) contracts the measure to 125 
small Greek miles. Belon (Observations, 1, ii. c. 1) gives a good description of the 
Propontis, but contents himself with the vague expression of one day and one 
night's sail. When Sandys (Travels, p. 21) talks of 150 furlongs in length, as 
well as breadtli, we can only suppose some mistake of the press iu the text of that 
judicious traveller. 



16 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Tne geographers who, with the most skilful accuracy, 
have surveyed the form and extent of the Hellespont, assign 
about sixty miles for the winding course, and about three 
miles for the ordinary breadth of those celebrated straits.^^ 
But the narrowest part of the channel is found to the north- 
w\ard of the old Turkish castles between the cities of Sestus 
and Abydus. It was here that the adventurous Leander 
braved the passage of the flood for the possession of his mis- 
tress.^^ It was here likewise, in a place where the distance be- 
tween the opposite banks cannot exceed five hundred paces, 
that Xerxes imposed a stupendous bridge of boats, for the pur- 
pose of transporting into Europe a hundred and seventy 
myriads of barbarians.^^ A sea contracted within such nar- 
row limits may seem but ill to deserve the singular -epithet 
of broad^ Avhich Homer, as well as Orpheus, has frequently 
bestowed on the Hellespont.! But our ideas of greatner:s 
are of a relative nature: the traveller, and esiDccially the 
poet, who sailed along the Hellespont, who pursued the 
windings of the stream, and contemplated the rural scenery, 
which appeared on every side to terminate the prospect, 

^5 See an admirable dissertation of M. d'Anville upon the HeUespont or Dar- 
danelles, in the Memoires de I'Academie des Inscriptions, torn, xxviii, p, 318- 
346. Yet even that ingenious geographer is too fond of siipposing new, and per- 
haps imaginary jjieaswres, for the purpose of rendering ancient writers as accurate 
as himself. The stadia employed by Herodotus in the description of the Euxine, 
tJ\e Bosphorus, &c. (1. iv. c. 85), must undoubtedly be all of the same species ; 
but it seems impossible to reconcile them either with truth or with each 
other. 

i»j The oblique distance between Sestus and Abydus was thirty stadia. The 
improbable tale of Hero and Leander is exposed by M. Mahudel. but is defended 
on the authority of poets and medals by M. de la Nauze. See the Aeademie des 
Inscriptions, torn. vii. Hist. p. 74. Mem. p. 240.* 

^'' See the seventh book of Herodotus, who has erected an elegant trophy to 
hi=; own fame and to that of his country. The review appears to have been made 
with tolerable accuracy; but the vanity, first of the Persians, and afterwards of 
the Greeks, was interested to magnify {he armament and the victory. 1 should 
much doubt wliether the invaders have ever outnumbered the men ot any country 
which they attacked. 



* The practical illustration of the possibility of Leander's feat by Lord Byron 
and other English swimmers is too well known to need particular refer- 
ence. — M. 

t Gibbon does not allow greater width between the two nearest points of the 
shores of the Hellespont than between those of the Bosphorus ; yet all the an- 
cient writers speak of the Hellespontic sirait as broader than the "other : they 
agree in giving it seven stadia in its narrowest width (Herod, in Melp. c. 85. 
Polym c. 34. Strabo, p. 591. Plin, iv, c, 12), which make 875 paces. It is singu- 
lar that Gibbon, whom the fifteenth note of this chapter reproaches d'Anville 
with being foTid of supposing new jind i)erhaps imaginary measures, has here 
adopted the peculiar measurement which d'Anville has assigned to the stadium. 
This great geographer believes that the ancients had a stadium of fiftj^-one toises, 
and it is that which he applies to the walls of Babylon. Now, seven of these 
stadia are equal to about 500 paces, 7 stadia=2142 feet ; 500 paces— 2135 feet five 
inches. G. See Reniiell, Geog. of Herod, p. 121. Add Ukert, Geographic der 
Griechen und libmer, v. i. pp. 2, 71.— M. 



OP THE ROMAX EMPIRE. 17 

insensibly lost the remembrance of the sea: and his fancy- 
pain ted those celebrated straits, with all the attributes of a 
miglity ri^'er flowing with a swift current, in the midst of a 
woody and inland country, and at length, through a wide 
mouth, discharging itself into the A^gnixn or Archipelago.^^ 
Ancient Troy,^^ seated on an eminence at the foot of Mount 
Idn, overlooked the mouth of the Helles])ont, which scarcely 
received an accession of waiers from the tribute of those 
immortal rivulets the Siniois and Scamander. The Grecian 
camp had stretclied twelve miles along the shore from the 
Sigiiean to the Rliaetean promontory ; and tlie flanks of tlie 
army were guarded by the brav^est chiefs who fouglit under 
the banners of Agamemnon. The first of those promon- 
tories was occupied by Achilles with his invincible" myrmi- 
dons, and the dauntless Ajax pitched his tents on the other. 
After Ajax had fallen a sacrifice to his disappointed pride, 
and to tlie ingratitude of the Greeks, his sepulchre was 
erected on tlie ground where lie had defended the navy 
against the rage of Jove and of Hector ; and the citizens of 
the rising town of Rliaeteum celebrated his memory with 
divine lionors.^*^ Before Constantine gave a just preference 
to the situation of Byzantium, he had conceived the design 
of erecting the seat of emj)ire on this celebrated spot, from 
whence the Romans derived their fabulous origin. The ex- 
tensive plain which lies below ancient Troy, towards the 
Rha^tean promontory and the tomb of Ajax, was first chosen 
for his new capital ; and though the undertaking was soon 
relinquished, the stately remains of unfinished walls and 
towers attracted the notice of all who sailed through the 
straits of the Hellespont.^^ 

^8 See Wood's Observations on Homer, p. 320. I have, with pleasure, selected 
this remark from an author who in general seems to have disapi)ointed the ex- 
pectation of the public as a criiic, and still more as a traveller. He had visited 
the banks of the Hellespont ; he liad read Strabo ; he ought to have consulted 
the Roman itinei-aries. How was it possible for him to confound Ilium and 
Alexandria Troas (Observations, pp. 340, 341), two cities which were sixteen miles 
distiint from each other ?* 

i'-* Demetrius of Scepsis wrote sixty books on thirty lines of Homer's catalogue. 
The Xlllth Book of Strabo is suflicientfor our curiosity. 

-"Strabo, 1. xiii. p. 59.5 [S90, edit. Casanb.]. The disposition of the 8hi[)6, 
which weredrawn up on dry land, and the posts of Ajax and Achilles, are very 
clearly described by Homer. See Iliad, ix. 220. 

i^i Zosim. 1. ii. [c. 30], p. 105. Sozomen, 1. ii. c. 3, Theophanes, p. 18. Niceph- 
orus Callistus. 1, vii, p. 48. Zonaras, torn. ii.l. xiii. p. G. Zosimus places the new 
city between Ilium and Alexandria, but this apparent difference may be recon- 
ciled by the large extent of its circumference. Before the foundation of Con- 



* Compare Walpole's Memoire on Turkey, v. i. p. 101. Dr. Clarke adopted Mr. 
Walpole's interpretation of irXaTv; 'EAAtjo-ttoi/to?, the salt Hellespont. But the 
«ld interpretation is more graphic and Homeric. Clarke's Travels, ii. 70- — M. 

2 



18 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

We are at present qualified to view the advantageous 
position of Constantinople ; -svliich a]:>pears to liave been 
formed by nature for tlie centre and ca|)ital of a great 
nionarcliy. Situated in the forty-first degree of latitude, 
the Imperial city commanded, from her seven Idlls,''^ the 
opposite shores of Europe and Asia; the cliuiate was 
healthy and temperate, the soil fertile, the harbor secure 
and capacious ; and the approach on the side of the conti- 
nent was of small extent and easy defence. The Bosphorus 
and the Hellespont may be considered as the two gates of 
Constantinople ; and the prince who possessed these im- 
portant passages could always shut them against a naval 
enemy, and open them to the fleets of commerce. The 
preservation of the eastern provinces may, in some degree, 
be ascribed to the policy of Constanline, as the barbarians 
of the Euxine, who in the preceding age had poured their 
armaments into the heart of the MediteiTanean, soon 
desisted from the exercise of piracy, and despaired of 
forcing this insurmountable bari-ier. When the gates of 
the Hellespont and Bosphorus were shut, the capital still 
enjoyed within their spacious enclosure every production 
which could supply the wants, or gratify the luxury, of its 
numerous inhabitants. The sea-coasts of Thrace and Bithy- 
nia, which languish under the weight of Turkish oppression, 
still exhibit a rich prospect of vineyards, of gardens, and of 
plentiful harvests ; and the Propontis has ever been 
renowned for an inexhaustible store of the most exquisite 
fish, that are taken in their stated seasons, without skill, 
and almost without labor.^ But Avhen the passages of the 
straits were thrown open for trade, they alternately ad- 
mitted the natural and artificial riches of the north and 
south, of the Euxine, and of the Mediterranean. Whatever 
rude commodities were collected in the forests of Germany 
and Scythia, as far as the sources of the Tanais and the 
Borysthenes ; whatsoever was manufactured by the skill of 
Europe or Asia; the corn of Egypt, and the gems and 
spices of the farthest India, were brought by tlie varying 

staiitinople, Thessalonica is mentioned by Cedreiuis (p. 283), and Sardica by 
Zonulas, as the intended capital. They both t^uppose, witli very little probability, 
that the emperor, if he had not becji prevented by a piodigy^ would have re- 
peated the mistake of the blind Chalcedonians. 

2- pocock's Description of the Ea^t, vol. ii. part H. p. 127. His plan of the 
seven hilLs is clear and accurate. That traveller is seldom so satisfactory. 

-■^ See Belon, Observations, c. 72-7G. Among a viuiety of different species, the 
Pelamides, a sort of Thunnios, were the most celebrated. We may learn from 
Polybins, Strabo, and Tacitus, that the profits of the lishery constituted the 
principal revenue of Byzantium. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 19' 

winds into the port of Constantinople, wliich for many ages 
attracted the commerce of the ancient workl.-^^ 

The prospect of beauty, of safety, and of wealtli, united 
in a single spot, was sufficient to justify the choice of Con- 
stantine. But as some decent mixture of ])rodigy and fable 
has, in every age, been supposed to reflect a becoming 
majesty on the origin of great cities,^" the emperor was 
desirous of ascribing his resolution, not so much to the un- 
certain counsels of human policy, as to the infallible and 
eternal decrees of divine wisdom. In one of his laws he 
has been careful to instruct posterity, that in obedience to 
the commands of God, he laid the everlasting foundations 
of Constantinople : ^^ and though he has not condescended 
to relate in what manner the celestial inspiration was com- 
municated to his mind, the defect of his modest silence has 
been liberally supplied by the ingenuity of succeeding 
writers ; who describe the nocturnal vision which ap])eared 
to the fancy of Constantine, as he slept within the walls of 
Byzantium. The tutelar genius of the city, a venerable 
matron sinking under the weight of years and infirmities, 
was suddenly transformed into a blooming maid, whom his 
own hands adorned with all the symbols of Imi)erial great- 
ness.^^ The monarch awoke, inteipreted the auspicious 
omen, and obeyed, without hesitation, the will of heaven. 
The day which gave birth to a city or colony was celebrated 
by the Komans with such ceremonies as had been ordained 
by a generous superstition ; ^^ and though Constantine 
might omit some rites which savored too strongly of their 
Pagan origin, yet lie was anxious to leave a deep impression 
of hope and respect on the minds of the spectators. On 
foot, with a lance in his hand, the emperor himself led the 
solemn procession ; and directed the line, which was traced 
as the boundary of the destined capital : till the growing 

-* See the eloquent descriptioti of Busbequius, epistol. i. p. G4. Est in Europa ; 
habet in coiispectii At;iain, Egyptum. At"ri(;uniqvie a dextra : (Hiaj tamelsi con- 
tii^ufB non sunt, maris tauien navigandique cojnnioditate veluti junguntur. A 
sinistra vero Puntus est Euxinus, &c. 

'■^^ Datur hiGc venia antiquitati, ut niiscendo liumana divinis, primordia urbium 
uugustioia faeiat. T. Liv. in proann, ^ 

-*i He says in one of his laws, pro eommoditate urbis qnam ajtemo nomine, 
jubente Deo, donavimus. Cod. Theodos. 1, xiii. tit. v. leg. 7. 

-? The Greeks, Theophanes, Cedrenns, and the author of the Alexandinan 
Chronicle, confine themselves to vagu.i and general expressions. For a more 
particular account of the vision, we are oldiged to have recourse to such Latin 
writer.-) as William of Malmesbury. See Ducange, C. P. 1. i. pp. 24, 25. 

'■^^ See Plutarch in Romul. torn. i. p. 40, edit. Bryan. Among other ceremonies, 
a large hole, wliich had been dug for that jnirpose, was tilled np with handfuls of 
earth, which each of the settlers brought from the place of his birth, and thua 
adopted his new country. 



20 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

circumference was observed with astonishment by the as- 
sistants, wlio, at lengtli, ventured to observe, that he had 
ah-eady exceeded the most ample measure of a great city. 
" I shall still advance," replied Constantine, " till he, the 
invisible guide who marches before me, thinks proper to 
stop." ^^ Without presummg to nivestigate the nature or 
motives of this extraordmary conductor, we shall content 
ourselves with the more humble task of describing the ex- 
tent and limits of Constantinople.^^ 

In the actual state of the city, the palace and gardens of 
the Seraglio occupy the eastern promontory, the first of the 
seven hills, and cover about one hundred and fifty acres of 
our own measure. The seat of Turkish jealousy and despot- 
ism is erected on the foundations of a Grecian republic ; but 
it may be supposed that the Byzantines were tempted by 
the conveniency of the harbor to extend their habitations on 
that side beyond the modern limits of the Seraglio. The 
new walls of Constantine stretched from the port to the 
Propontis across the enlarged breadth of the triangle, at a 
distance of fifteen stadia from the ancient fortification ; and 
with the city of Byzantium they enclosed five of the 
seven hills, which, to the eyes of those ^tho approach Con- 
stantinople, appear to rise above each other in beautiful 
order.^^ About a century after the death of the founder, 
the new buildings, extending on one side up the harbor, and 
on the other along the Propontis, already covered the narrow 
ridge of the sixth, and the broad summit of the seventh hill. 
The necessity of protecting those suburbs from the incessant 
inroads of tlu barbarians emxasred the vouno-cr Theodosius 

CD kD %■' C? 

to surround his capital with an adequate and permanent en- 
closure of walls.^^ From the eastern promontory to the 
golden gate, the extreme length of Constantinople Avas about 
three Roman miles f^ the circumference measured between ten 

29 Philostorgius, 1. ii, c. 9. This incident, though borrowed from a suspected 
writer, is characteristic and probable. 

M See in the Menioiresde 1' Academic, torn. xxxv. pp. 747-75S, a dissertation of 
M. d"Anville on the extent of Constantinople. He takes the plan inserted in the 
Imperium Orientale of Bauduri as the most complete ; but, by a serits of very 
nice observations, he reduces the extravagant proportion of tlie scale, and instead 
of 9aU0, determines the circumference of the city as consisting of about of TbUO 
French foises. 

^1 Codinns, Antiquitat. Const, p. 12. He assigns the church of St. Anthony as 
the boundary on the side of the harbor. It is mentioned in Ducange, 1. iv. c. tJ; 
but I have tried, without success, to discover the exact place where it was 
Situated. 

^2 The new wall of Theodosius was constructed in the year 413. In 447 it was 
thrown down by an earthquake, and rebuilt m thiee months by the diligence of 
the prefect (;yrus. The suburb of the Blacherna; was lirst taken into the city 
ill the reign of Heraclius. Ducange, Const. 1. i. c. 10, II. 

^ The measurement is expressed in the Notitia by 14,075 feet. It is reasonable 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 21 

and eleven ; and the surface might be computed as equal to 
about two thousand English acres. It is impossible to justify 
the vain and credulous exaggerations of modern travellers, 
who have sometimes stretched the limits of Constantmople 
over the adjacent villages of the European, and even of the 
Asiatic coast.^^ But the suburbs of Pera and Galata, though 
situate beyond the harbor, may deserve to be considered as 
a part of the city ; ^^ and this addition may perhaps authorize 
the measure of a Byzantine historian, who assigns sixteen 
Greek (about fourteen Roman) miles for the circumference 
of his native city.^° Such an extent may seem not unworthy 
of an Imperial residence. Yet Constantinople must yield 
to Babylon and Thebes,^^ to ancient Rome, to London, and 
even to Paris.^^ 

The master of the Roman world, who aspired to erect an 
eternal monument of the glories of his reign, could employ 
in the prosecution of that great work the wealth, the labor, 
and all that yet remained of the genius of obedient millions. 
Some estimate may be formed of the expense bestowed with 
Imj^erial liberality on the foundation of Constantinople, by 
the allowance of about two millions tive hundred thousand 
pounds for the construction of the walls, the porticos, and the 
aqueducts. ^^ The forests that overshadowed the shores of 
the Euxine, and the celebrated quarries of white marble in 
the little island of Proconnesus, supplied an inexhaustible 
stock of materials, ready to be conveyed, by the convenience 

to suppose that these were Greek feet, tlie proportion of which has heen ingeni- 
ously deteDiiined by M. d'Anville. He compares the 180 feet with 78 Hashemite 
cubits, which in ilifferent writers are assigned for the heights of St. Sophia, Each 
of these cubits was equal to 27 French inches. 

"*'» The accurate Tlievenot (1. i. c. 15) walked in one hour and tliree quarters 
round two of the sides of the ti iangle, from the Kiosk of the Seraglio to the seven 
towers. D'Anville examines with care, and receives with conhdence, this de- 
cisive testimony, which gives a circumference of ten or twelve miles. The ex- 
travagant computation of Tournefort (Lettre XI.) of th.irty-four or tliirty miles, 
without including Scutari, is a strange departure from his usual character. 

*> Tlie sycie, or lig-trees, formed the tliirteenth region, and were very much 
embellished by fJustinian. It has since borne the names of Pera and Galata. 
The etymology of the former is obvious ; that of the latter is unknown. See 
Ducange, Const. 1. i. c. 22. and Gylliiis de Byzant. 1. iv. c. 10. 

■^•i One hundred and eleven stadia, which may be translated into modern 
Greek miles each of seven stadia, or 6G0, sometimes only 600, F»-ench toises. See 
D'Anville, Mcsures Itineraires, p. 53. 

3' When the ancient texts, which describe the size of Babylon and Thebes, 
are settled, the exaggerations reduced, and the measures ascertained, we find 
that those famous cities llUedthe great but not incredible circumference of about 
twenty-live or thirty miles. Compare D'Anville, jMera. do I'Academie, torn, 
xxviii. p. 235, with his Description de I'Egyptc, p. 201, 202. 

•*s If we divide Constantinople and Paris into equal squares of 50 French toises, 
the former contains 850, and the latter 1160, of those divisions- 

^^ Six hundred centenaries, or sixty thousand pounds' weight of gold. Tliis 
sum is taken from Codinus, Antiquit. Const, p. 11 ; but unless that, contemi)tible 
author had derived liis information from some purer sources, he would probably 
have been unacquainted with so obsolete a mode of reckoning. 



22 VIIE DECLINE AXD FALL 

of a short water-carriage, to the harbor of Byzantium.'*'^ A 
multitude of laborers and artificers urged the conclusion of 
the work with incessant toil : but the impatience of Constan- 
tine soon discovered, that in the decline of the arts, the skill 
as well as numbers of his architects bore a very unequal pro- 
portion to the greatness of his designs. The magistrates of 
the most distant provinces Avere therefore directed to in- 
stitute schools, to appoint professors, and by the hopes of 
rewards and privileges, to engage in the study and practice 
of architecture a sufficient number of ingenious youths, who 
had received a liberal education.'*^ The buildings of the new 
city were executed by such artificers as the reign of Constan- 
tine could afford; but they Avere decorated by the hands of 
the most celebrated masters of the age of Pericles and Alex- 
ander. To revive the genius of Phidias and Lysippus, sur- 
passed indeed the power of a Roman emperor ; but the im- 
mortal productions which they had bequeathed to posterity 
were exposed without defence to the rapacious vanity of a 
despot. By his commands the cities of Greece and Asia 
were despoiled of their most valuable ornaments.^^ The 
trophies of memorable wars, the objects of religious venera- 
tion, the most finished statues of the gods and heroes, of the 
sages and poets, of ancient times, contributed to the splendid 
triumph of Constantinople ; and gave occasion to the remark 
of the historian Cedrenus,^^ who observes, with some enthu- 
siasm, that nothing seemed wanting except the souls of the 
illustrious men whom those admirable monuments were in- 
tended to represent. But it is not in the city of Constnntine, 
nor in the declining period of an empire, when the human 
mind was depressed by civil and religious slavery, that we 
should seek for the souls of Homer and of Demosthenes. 

During the s^ege of Byzantium, the conqueror had pitched 
his tent on the commanding eminence of the second hill. To 
13erj)etuate the memory of his success, he chose the same 

^ For the forests of the Black Sea, consult Tournefort, Lettre XVI ; for the 
marble quarries of Procuiinesus, see Strabo, 1. xiii. p. 588 r>s81, edit. Casaub.] 
The latter had already furnished the materials of the stately buildings of Cyziciis. 
■J' See the Codex Theodos, 1. xiii. tit. iv. leg. 1. This law is dated in the year 
334, and was addressed to the prtefect of Italy,Vhose jurisdiction extended over 
Africa. The commentary of Godefroy on the whole title well deserves to be con- 
sulted. 

■»•- Constanlinopolis dedicatur popne omnium nrhinm nuditate. Hieronym. 
Chron. p. 181. See Codinus, p. 8, 9. The author of the Antiquitat. Const. 1. iii. 
(apud Banduri Imp. Orient, toin. i. i).4l) enumerates Konie, Sicily, Antioch. Ath- 
ens and a long list of other cities. The inovinees of Greece and Asia INIinor may 
be supposed to have yielded the richest booty. 

« Hist. Compend.'p. .".on. He describes the statue, or rather hust, of Homer 
with a degree of taste which plainly indicates that Cedrenus copied the style of 
a more fortunate age. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 23 

advantageous position for the principal Forum ;^^ Avhich ap- 
pears to have been of a circular or rather elliptical form. 
The two opposite entrances formed triumphal arches ; the 
porticos, which enclosed it on every side, were filled with 
statues ; and the centre of the Forum was occupied by a 
lofty column, of which a mutilated fragment is now degraded 
by the appellation of the burnt pillar. This column was 
erected on a])edestalof white marble twenty feet high; and 
was composed of ten pieces of porphyry, each of which 
measured about ten feet in height, and about thirty-three in 
circumference.^^ On the summit of the pillar, above one 
hundred and twenty feet from the ground, stood the colossal 
statue of Apollo. It was of bronze, had been transported, 
either from Athens or from a town of Phrygia, and was sup- 
posed to be the work of Phidias. The artist had represented 
the god of day, or, as it was afterwards interpreted, the em- 
peror Constantine himself, with a sceptre in his right hand, 
the globe of the world in his left, and a crown of rays glit- 
tering on his head.^^ The Circus, or Hippodrome, was a 
stately building about four hundred paces in length, and one 
hundred in breadth.'*^ The space between the two raetce or 
goals was filled with statues and obelisks; and we may still 
remark a very singular fragment of antiquity; the bodies of 
three serpents, twisted into one ])illar of brass. Their triple 
heads had once sup})orted the golden tripod which, after the 
defeat of Xerxes, was consecrated in the temple of Delphi 
by the victorious Greeks.^^ The beauty of the Hippodrome 

^* Zosim. 1. ii. p. 106. Chron. Alexaiidriii. vel Pasclial. p. 284. Ducange, 
Const. 1. i. c. 24, Even the last of those writers seems to confound the Forum of 
Const lutine with the AugusLeum, or court of the palace. 1 ain not satislied 
whether 1 have properly di^linguislied what belongs to the one and the other. 

4^ The most tolerable account of this column is given by Pocock. Description 
of the East, v>.'l. ii. part ii. p 131. But it ia still iu many instances ijerplexed and 
unsatisfactory. 

■"^ Ducange. Const. 1. i. c. 24, \^. 7G, and his notes ad Alexiad. p. 382. The 
statue of Constantine or Apollo was thrown down under the reign of Alexius 
Coinncnus.* 

*'> Toiirnefort (LettreXII.) computes the Atmeidan at four hundred paces. 
If he means geometrical paces of live feet each, it was three hundred ioises in 
length, about forty more than the great circus of Rome. See D'Anville, Mesures 
.Itinera ires, p. 73. ' 

•''* The guardians of the most holy relics would rejoice if they were able to pro- 
duce such a chain of evidence as may be alleged on this occca.sion. See Banduri 



* On this column (says M. von Hammer) Constantine, with singular shame- 
lc8sne.'-s. placed his own statue with the attributes of Apollo and Christ. He 
s;ibstituted the nails of the Passion for the rays of the sun. Such is the direct 
testimony of the author of the Antiquit. Consiantinop. apud Banduri. Constan- 
tine was replaced by the "great and religious" Julian; Julian, by Theodosius 
A. D. 1412, the key stone was loosened by an earthquake. The statue fell in the 
reign of Alexius Comnenus, and was replaced by the cross. The Pallailium wjis 
said to be Iniried under tha pillar. Von Hammer, Constantinopolis und der Boi- 
poros, i. 1G2.— M. 



24 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

has been Ions: since defaced bv the rude hands of the Turk- 
ish conquerors;! but. under the similar appellation of At- 
meidan, it still serves as a place of exercise for their liorses. 
From the throne, whence the emperor viewed the Circensian 
games, a winding staircase ^^ descended to the palace; a 
magnificent edifice, which scarcely yielded to the residence 
of Rome itself, and which, together with the dependent 
courts, gardens, and porticos, covered a considerable extent 
of ground upon the banks of the Propontis between the Hip- 
podrome and the church of St. Sophia.^*^ We might like- 
wise celebrate the baths, which still retained the name of 
Zeuxippus, after they had been enriched, by the munificence 
of Constantine, with lofty columns, various marbles, and 
above threescore statues of bronze.^^ But we should deviate 
from the design of this history, if we attempted minutely to 
describe the different buildings or quarters of the city. It 
may be sufhcient to observe, that whatever could adorn the 
dignity of a great capital, or contribute to the benefit or 
pleasure of its numerous inhabitants, was contained within 

ad Antiquitat. Const, p. 6G8. Gvlluis de Byzant. L ii. e. 13. I. The original 
consecralioii of the tiipotl and pillar in the temple of Delphi maybe proved from 
Herodotus and Pausanias. 2. The Pagan Zosimus agrees with the three ecclesi- 
astical historians, Ensebius, Socrates, and Sozomen, that the sacred ornaments 
of the temple of J)elphi were removed to Conslantinople by the order of Con- 
stantine ; and among ihese the serpentijie pillar of the Hippodrome is particu- 
larly mentioned. 3. All the European travellers who have visited Constantinople, 
from Buondehnonte to Pocock, describe it in the same place, and almost in the 
same manner ; the differences between them are occasioned only l)y the injuries 
which it has sustained from the Turks. Mahomet the Second broke the under- 
jaw of one of the serpents with a stroke of his battle-axe. Thevenot, 1. i. c. 17.* 

■*'■> The Liitin name Cochlea was adopted by the Greeks, and very frequently 
occurs iu the Byzantine histoiy. Ducange, Const. 1. ii. c. 1. p. 104. 

&' There aie three topographical points which indicate the situation of the 
palace. 1. The staircase which connected it with the Hippodrome or Atmeidan. 
2. A small artificial port on the Propontis, from whence there was an easy uscent, 
by a flight of marble steps, to the gardens of the palace. 3. The Augusteum 
was a spacious court, one side of which was occupied by the front of the palace, 
and another by the cnurch of St. Sophia. 

''1 Zeuxippus was an epithet of Jui>iter, and the baths were a part of old By- 
zantium. The difficulty of assigning their true situation has not been felt by 
Ducange. History seems to connect them with St. Sophia and the palace ; but 
the original plan inserted in Banduri places them on the other side of the city, 
near the harbor. For their beauties, see Chron. Paschal, p. 285. and Gyllius <ie 
Byzant. ]. ii. c. 7. Christodorus (see Antiquitat. Const. 1. vii.) composed inscrip- 
tions in verse for each of the statues. He was a Theban poet in genius as well as 
in birth : — 

Bseotum in crasso jur;ires acre natum.t 



* See note 75, ch. Ixviii. for Dr. Clarke's reiection of Thevenot's atithority. 
Von Hammer, however, repeats the story of Thevenot without questioning its 
authenticity. — M. 

t In 1808 the rlanizaries revolted against the vizier Mustapha Baisactar, who 
wished to introduce a new svstem of military organizaiion, besieged the quarter 
of the Hippodrome, in which stood the palace of the viziers, and the Hippodrome 
was consumed in the contlagration. — G. 

+ Yet, for liis age, the description of the statues of Hecuba and of Homer is 
by no means without merit. See Antholog. Palat. (edit. Jacobs) i. 37.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 25 

the walls of Constantinople. A particular description, com- 
posed about a century after its foundation, enumerates a 
capitol or school of learning, a circus, two theatres, eight 
public, and one hundred and fifty-three private baths, fifty- 
two porticos, five granaries, eight aqueducts or reservoirs of 
water, four spacious halls for the meetings of the senate or 
courts of justice, fourteen churches, fourteen palaces, and 
four thousand three hundred and eighty-eight houses, which, 
for their size or beauty, deserved to be distinguished from 
the multitude of plebeian habitations.^^ 

The populousness of his favored city was the next and most 
serious object of the attention of its founder. In the dark 
ages which succeeded the translation of tlie empire, the remote 
and the immediate consequences of that memorable event 
were strangely confounded by the vanity of the Greeks and 
the credulity of the Latins.^^ It was asserted, and believed, 
that all the noble families of Rome, the senate, and the eques- 
trian order, with their innumerable attendants, had followed 
their emperor to the banks of the Propontis ; that a spurious 
race of strangers and plebeians was left to possess the solitude 
of the ancient capital ; and that the lands of Italy, long since 
converted into gardens, were at once deprived of cultivation 
and inhabitants.^"* In the course of this history, such exag- 
gerations will be reduced to their just value : yet, since the 
growth of Constantinople cannot be ascribed to the general 
increase of mankind and of industry, it must be admitted 
that this artificial colony was raised at the expense of the 
ancient cities of the empire. Many opulent senators of Rome, 
and of the eastern provinces, Avere probably invited by Con- 
stantine to adopt for their country the fortunate spot,which he 
had chosen for his oAvn residence. The invitations of a mas- 
ter are scarcely to be distinguished from commands ; and the 
liberality of the emperor obtained a ready and cheerful obedi- 
ence, lie bestowed onliis favorites the palaces which he had 
built in the several quarters of the city, assigned them lands 

52 See the Notitia. Rome only reckoned 1780 larjje houses, domus : but the 
word must have had a more dignilied .--igiulicatiou. No iiisitUe pre mentioned at 
Constantinople. The old capital consisted of 424 streets, the new of .322. 

»•* Liiitprand, Legaiio ad Imp. Nicephorum, p. 15o. The modern Greeks have 
strangely disligured the antiquities of Constantinople. We might excuse the 
errors of the Turkish or Arabian writers ; but it is somewhat astonishing, that 
the Greeks, who had access to the authentic materials preserved in their own 
language, should ])refer tiction to truth, and loose tradition to genuine history. 
In a single page of Codinus we may detect twelve niix>ardonable mistakes ; the 
reconciliation of Severus and Niger, the marriage of tbeir son and daugliter, the 
siege of Byzantium by the Macedonians, the invasion of the (4auls, wliich recalled 
Severus to Rome, the sixty years which elapsed from his death to the foundation 
of Constantinople, &c. 

&* Montesquieu, Grandeur et Decadence des Remains, c. 17. 



26 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

and pensions for the support of their dignity, ^^ and alienated 
the demesnes of Pontus and Asia to grant hereditary estates 
by the easy tenure of maintaining a house in tlie capital.^^ 
But these encouragements and obligations soon became super- 
fluous, and were gradually abolished. Wherever the seat of 
government is fixed, a considerable part of the public revenue 
will be expended by the prince himself, by his ministers, by 
the officers of justice, and by the domestics of the palace. 
The most wealthy of tlie ])rovincials will be attracted by the 
powerful motives of interest and duty, of amusement and 
curiosity. A third and more numerous class of inhabitants 
will insensibly be formed, of servants, of artificers, and of 
merchants, who derive their subsistence from their own la- 
bor, and from the wants or luxury of the superior ranks. In 
less tlian a century, Constantinople disputed Avith Rome it- 
self the preeminence of riches and numbers. New piles of 
buildings, crowded together witli too little regard to health 
or convenience, scarcely allowed the intervals of narrow 
streets for the perpetual throng of men, of horses, and of 
carriages. The allotted space of ground was insufficient to 
contain the increasing people ; and the additional found- 
ations, which, on either side, were advanced into the sea, 
might alone have composed a very considerable city.^^ 

The frequent and regular distributions of wine and oil, 
of corn or bread, of money or provisions, liad almost ex- 
empted the poorer citizens of Rome from the necessity of 
labor. The magnificence of the first Casars was in some 
measure imitated by the founder of Constantinople : ^^ but 

^^ Tbemist. Orat. iii. p. 48, edit. Ilardouin. Sozomeii. 1. ii. c. 3. Zosim. 1. ii. 
p. 107. Anonym. Valesian. p. 715. If we could credit Codinus (p. Id), Constun- 
tine built houses for the senators on the exact model of their Uoman palaces, and 
graiitied them, as weli as himself, with tlie pleasure of an agreeable surprise ; 
but tbe whole story is full of tictions and inconsistencies. 

^ The law by which the younger Theodosius, in tho year 43.^, abolished this 
tenure, n^.ay be found among the Novellas of that emperor^at the en<l of the Theo- 
dosiau (Jode, torn. vi. nov. 12. M. de Tillemont (Hist, des Empereurs, tom. iv. p. 
371) has evidently mistaken the nature of these estates. With a grant from the 
Imperial demesnes, the same condition was accepted as a favor, which would 
justly have been deemed a hardship, if it had been imposed upon private prop- 
erty. 

^' The passages of Zosimus, of Eunapius. of Sozomen, and of Agathias, which 
relate to the increase of buildings and inhabitants at Constantinople, are col- 
lected and connected by Gylliusde Byzant. 1. i. c. 3. Sidouius Apollinaris (in 
Pauegyr. Anthem. 5(J, p. 270, edit. Sirmond) describes the moles that were pushed 
forwards into the sea ; they consisted of the famous Puzzolau sand, which hard- 
ens in the water. 

'•>= Sozomen, 1. ii. c. 3. Philostorg. 1. ii. c. 9. Codin. Antiquitat. Const, p. 8. 
It appears by Socrates, 1. ii. c. 13, that the daily allowance of the city consisted 
of eight myriads of cnrov, which we may either translate, with Valesius. by the 
words modii of corn, or consider as expressive of the miu-ber of loaves of bread.* 



At Pvome tlie poorer citizens who received these gratuities were inscribed in 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 27 

his liberjility, liowever it niiglit excite the applause of the 
people, has iiicurreel the censure of posterity. A nation of 
legislators and conquerors miglit assert their claim to tlie 
harvests of Africa, which had been purchased with their 
bUiod ; and it was artfully contrived by Augustus, that, in 
the enjoyment of plenty, the Romans should lose the mem- 
ory of freedom. But the prodigality of Constantino 
could not be excused by any consideration either of public or 
private interest; and the annual ti'ibute of corn imposed 
upon Egypt for the benefit of his new caj^ital, was applied to 
feed a lazy and insolent populace, at the expense of the 
husbandmen of an industrious province.^^ "* Some other 
regulations of this emperor are less liable to blame, but they 
are less deserving of notice, lie divided Constantinople 
into fourteen regions or quarters,^^ dignified the public 
council with the a})pellation of senate,^^ communicated to the 
citizens the privileges of Italy,*^^ and bestowed on the rising 

•"•^ See Cod. Theodos. 1. xiii. and xiv., and Cod. Justinian. Edict, xii. torn. ii. 
p. 648, edit. Genev. See the beautiful eoniplaiut of Koine in tlie poem of Claud- 
ian de Bell. Gildonico, ver. 60-62. 

Cum subiit par Roma mihi, divisaqiie sumsit 
iEquaL:s aurora togas ; /Egyptia rura 
lu partenieessere iiovam. 

^ The regions of Constantinople are mentioned in the code of Justinian, and 
panicuhirly <les(;ril)ed iii tlie Notitiu of the younger Theo<losius ; but as the four 
i;i.st of them are not included within the wall of Constantine, it may be doubted 
whether this division of the city should be referred to the founder. 

<'• Senutum eoustituit secundi ordinis ; (J/nros a 0( avit. Anonym. Valesian. 
p. 715. The senators of old Rome were styled C/nrin.simi. See a curious )iote of 
Valesius ad Ammian. Marcellin. xxii 0. From the eleventli ei)ist]e of Julian, 
it sliould seem that the place of senator was cousi(lere<l as a burden, rather than 
as an honor; but the Abbe de la Bleterie (\^ie de Jovien, torn. ii. p. 371) has 
shown that this euistle could i.ot relate to Constantinople. Might we not read, 
instead of the celebrated name of Huc'ai/rtot?, the obscure but more probable 
word ^Lcxai'Oqvot^ ? liisanthe or Klncdestus, now Kbodosto, was a small maritime 
city of Thrace. See Stephau. Byz. de Urbibus, p. U25, and Cellar. Geograph. 
tom. i. p. 84!). 

*<- Cod. Theodos. 1. xiv. 1.3. Tlie commentary of Godefroy (tom. v. p. 220) is 
long, but perplexed ; nor indeed is it easy to ascertain in what the Jus Italicnm 
could consist, after the freedom of the city had been commviiucated to tlie whole 
empire. t 

a register ; they liad only a personal right. Constantine attached the right to the 
houses in his new capital, to engage tlxe lower classes of the people to build their 
houses with expedition. Codex Theodos. 1. xiv. — G. 

* This was also at tlie expense of Koine. The emperor ordered that the fleet 
of Alexandria should transport to Constantinople the grain of Egypt wliich it 
carried before to Kome: this grain supplied Rome during four months of the 
year. Claudian has described with force the famine occasioned by this meas- 
ure : — 

Haic nobis, haec ante dabas ; nunc pabula tantum 
Koma precor : miserere tuse, pater optime, gentis. 
Extremam defende famem. 

Claud, de Bell. Gildon. t. 34 

— G 
It was scarcely this measure. Gildo had cut off the African as well as the 
Egyptian supplies. — M. 

t " This right (the Jus Italicum), which by most writers is referred without 



28 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

city the title of Colony, the first and most favored daughter 
of ancient Rome. The venerable parent still maintained the 
legal and acknowledged supremacy, Avhich was due to her 
age, to her dignity, and to the remembrance of her former 
greatness.^^ 

As Constantine urged the progress of the work with the 
impatience of a lover, the walls, the porticos, and the jji'in- 
cipal edifices were completed in a few years, or, according to 
another account, in a few months ; ^^ but this extraordinary 
diligence should excite the less admiration, since many of the 
buildings were finished in so hasty and imperfect a manner, 
that,under the succeeding reign, they were preserved with dif- 
ficulty from impending ruin. ^^ But while they displayed the 
vigor and freshness of youth,the founder prepared to celebrate 
the dedication of his city.^*^ The games and largesses which 
crowned the pomp of this memorable festival may easily be 
supposed ; but there is one circumstance of a more singular 
and permanent nature, which ought not entirely to be over- 
looked. As often as the birthday of the city returned, the 
statue of Constantine, framed by his order, of gilt wood, and 
bearing in its right hand a small image of the genius of the 
place, was erected on a triumphal car. The guards, carrying 
white tapers, and clothed in their richest apparel, accom- 
panied the solemn procession as it moved through the Hip- 

C3 Julian (Orat. i. p. 8) celebrates Constantinople as not less superior to all 
other cities than she was inferior to Konie itself. His learned commentator 
(Spanheim,pp. 75,76), justifies this language by several parallel and contemporary 
instances. Zosimus, as well as Socrates and Sozomen, flourished after the divis- 
ion of the empire between the two sons of Theodosius, which established a per- 
fect equalittj between the old and the new capital. 

'^ Codinus (Antiquitat. p. 8) attinns, that the foundations of Constantinople 
were laid in the year of the world 5837 (A. D. 329). on the 26th of September, 
and that the city was dedicated the 11th of May, 58.38 (A. D. 330), He connects 
these dates with sevornl cliaracteristic epochs, but they contradict each other; 
the authority of Codinus is of little weight, and the space which he assigns must 
appear insutlicient. The term of ten years is given us by Julian (Oral. i. p. 8); 
and SpanheliQ labors to establish the truth of it (pp. 69-75), by the help of two 
passages from Themistius(Orat. iv. p. 58), and of Phil(>storgius (1. ii. c. 9), which 
form a period from the year 324 to the year 334. ^Modern criti< s are divided con- 
cerning this point of chronology, and their different sentiments are very ac- 
curately described by Tillemont, Hist, des Empereurs, torn. iv. pp. 619-625. 

ca Themistins. Orat. iii. p. 47. Zosim. 1. ii. p. 108. Constantine himself, in one 
of his laws (Cod. Theod. 1. xv. tit. i.), betrays his impatience. 

6o Cedrenus and Zonaras, faithful to the mode of superstition which prevailed 
in their own times, assure us that Constantinople was cojisecrated to the virgin 
Mother of God.- 



foundation to the personal condition of the citizens, properly related to the 
city as a whole, and contaiue t two parts. First, the Roman or quiritarian prop- 
erty in the soil (commercium), and its capability of mar.eipation, usucaption, 
and vindication ; moreover, as an inseparable consequence of this, exemption 
from land-tax. Then, secondly, a free constitution in the Itnli >n form, with 
Duumvirs, Qninquennales, and ^diles, ami especially with Jurisdiction." Sav- 
igny, Geschichte des Kom. iiechts. b. i. p. 51. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMriRE. 29 

podrome. When it was opposite to the throne of the reign- 
ing ern[)eror, lie rose from his seat, and with grateful rev- 
erence adored the memory of his j)redecessor.^^ At the 
festival of the dedication, an edict, engraved on a column of 
marble, besto\v(;d the title of Second or New Rome on the 
city of Constantine.''^ But the name of Constantinople ^^ has 
prevailed over that honorable epithet; and after the revolu- 
tion of fourteen centuries, still perpetuates the fame of its 
author."^ 

The foundation of a new ca})ital is naturally connected 
with the establishment of a new form of civd and military 
administration. The distinct view of the complicated system 
of policy, introduced by Diocletian, improved by Constan- 
tine, and completed by his immediate successors, may not 
only amuse the fancy by the singular picture of a gi-eat 
empire, but will tend to illustrate the secret and internal 
causes of its rapid decay. In the pursuit of any remark- 
able institution, Ave may be frequently led into the more 
early or the more recent times of the lloman histoi-y ; but the 
proper limits of this incpiiry will be included within a period 
of about one hundred and thirty years, from the accession of 
Constantino to the jiublication of tiie Theodosian code ;'^ from 
which, as well as from the Notitia * of the East and West,'^ 

6^ The earliest and most complete account of this extraordinary ceremony 
may be found in tlie Alexandrian Chronicle, p. 2^5. Tillemont. anil the other 
friends of Coiistantine, who are olfended with the air of J'aganism which seems 
unworthy of a Christian prince, had a riyht to consider it as doubtful, but they 
were not authorized to omit the mention of it. 

OS Sozomen, 1. ii. c. 2. Ducange C. T. 1. i. c. 6. Velut ipsius lloman filiam, is 
the expression of Augustin. de Civitat. Dei, 1. v. c. 25. 

«^ Eutro;)ius, 1. x. c 8. Juliun. Orat. i. p. 8. Du( ange C. P. 1. i. c. 5. The 
name of Constantinople is extant on the medals of (Jonstantine- 

7" The lively Foiitenelle (Dialogues <les INlorts xii.) affects to deride the vanity 
of human ambition, and seems to triumph in the disappointment of Constantino, 
whose immortal name is now lost in the vulgar appellation of Istambol, a Turk- 
ish corruption of ct? r-^v izoXiv. Yet the original name is still preserved, 1. By 
the nations of Europe. 2. By the modern (Jreeks. 3. By the Arabs, whose writ- 
ings are diffused over the wide extent of their conqu<'Sts in Asia and Africa, 
See D'Herbelot Bibliotheque Oriental*^, p. 275. 4. By the more learned Turks, 
and by the emperor himself in his public mandates. Cautemir's History of the 
Othman Empire, p. 51. 

7' The Theodosian code was promulgated A. D. 438. See the Prolegomena of 
Godef oy, c. i. p. 1X5. 

72 Pancirolus,iu liis elaborate Commentary, assigns to the Notitia a date almost 
similar to that of the Theodosian code ; but his j)roofs, ex rather conjectures, are 
extremely feeble, 1 should be rather inclined to i)lace this useful work between 



* The Notitia Dignitatum Imperii is a description of all the offices in the 
court and the state, of the legions, &c. It resembles our court almanacs (Red 
Books), with this single ditfjrence, that our almanacs name the persons in office, 
the Notitia only the offices. It is of the time of the emperor Theodosius H., 
that is to say, of the fifth century, when the empire was divided Inlo the Eastern 
and Western. Tt is probable that it was not made for the lirst time, and that d^ 
Bcriptions of the same kind existed before. — G. 



30 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

we derive the most copious and .autlieiitic information of the 
state of the empire. This variety of objects will suspend, for 
some time, the course of the narrative ; but the interruption 
will be censured only by those readers who are insensible to 
the importance of laws and manners, while they peruse, with 
eager curiosity, the transient intrigues of a court, or the ac- 
cidental event of a battle. 

The manly pride of the Romans, content with substan- 
tial power, had left to the vanity of the East the forms and 
ceremonies of ostentatious greatness. ''* But when they lost 
even the semblance of those virtues which were derived from 
their ancient freedom, the simplicity of Roman manners was 
insensibly corrupted by the stately affectation of the courts 
of Asia. The distinctions of personal merit and influence, so 
conspicuous in a republic, so feeble and obscure under a mon- 
archy, were abolished by the despotism of the emperors ; 
who substituted in their room a severe subordination of rank 
and office, from the titled slaves who were seated on the 
steps of the throne, to the meanest instruments of arbitrary 
power. This multitude of abject dependents was interested 
in the support of the actual government from the dread of a 
revolution, which might at once confound their hopes and 
intercept the reward of their services. In this divine 
hierarchy (for such it is frequently styled) every rank was 
marked with the most scrupulous exactness, and its dignity 
was displayed in a variety of trifling and solemn ceremonies, 
which it was a study to learn, and a sacrilege to neglect.^^ 
The purity of the Latin language was debased, by adopting, 
in the intercourse of pride and flattery, a profusion of epi- 
thets, which Tully would scarcely have understood, and 
which Augustus would have rejected with indignation. The 
principal officers of the empire were saluted, even by the 
sovereign himself, with the deceitful titles of your jSlnceri- 
ty^ your Gravity, your Excelleyicy^ your Eminence^ your 
Suhlhne and wonderful Magnitude, your illustrious and 

the final division of the empire (A. D. 395) and the successful invasion of Gaul 
by the Barbarians (A. 1>. 407). See Histoire des Anciens Peuples de I'Europe, 
torn. vii. p. 40. 

J-* Scilicet externae superbiae sueto, non ineratuotitia nostri (perhaps ?ios<rce),' 
apud quos vis Imperii valet, inaiiia ti'ansmittuntur. Tacit. Annal. xv. ol. The 
gradation Irom the siyle of freedom and simplicity, to that of form and servi- 
tude, may be traced in the Epistles of Cicero, of Pliny, and of Symmachus. 

74 Tlie emi)c'()r Gratian, after confirming a law of precedency published by 
Valentinian, the father of his Divinity, thus continues; Siquis igitur in<lebitum 
Bibi locum usurpaverit, nulla se ignoratione defendat ; sitque plane sacrilegii re- 
us, qui divina praecepta neglexerit. Cod. Theod. 1. vi. tit. v. leg. 2. 



OP THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 31 

magnificent IllghnessP The codicils or patents of tlieir 
office were curiously emblazoned with sucli emblems as were 
best adapted to explain its nature and higli dignity ; the 
image or portrait of the reigning emperors; a triumphal 
car; the book of mandates placed on a table, covered with a 
rich carpet, and illuminated by four tapers; tlie allegorical 
figures of the provinces which they governed ; or the appel- 
lations and standards of the troops whom they commanded. 
Some of these official ensigns Avere really exhibited in their 
hall of audience ; others preceded their pompous march 
whenever they appeai-ed in public ; and every circumstance 
of their demeanor, their dress, their ornaments, and their 
train, was calculated to inspire a deep reverence for the rep- 
resentatives of supreme majesty. By a philosophic obser- 
ver, the system of the Roman government might have 
been mistaken for a splendid theatre, filled with players of 
every character and degree, who repeated the language, and 
imitated the passions, of their original model."*' 

All the magistrates of sufficient importance to find a place 
in the general state of the empire, were accurately divided 
into three classes. 1. The Illustrious. 2. The Spectahiles^ 
or Respectable. And, 3. The Clarissimi / whom we may 
translate by the word Honorable. In the times of Roman 
simplicity, the last-mentioned epithet was used only as a 
vague expression of deference, till it became at length the 
peculiar and appropriated title of all who were members of 
the senate,'^ and consequently of all who, from that venera- 
ble body, were selected to govern the provinces. The vanity 
of those who, from their rank and office, might claim a 
superior distinction above the rest of the senatorial order, 
was long afterwards indulged with the new appellation of 
liespectable ; but the title of Illustrious was always reserved 
to some eminent personages who were obeyed or reverenced 
by the tw o subordinate classes. It was communicated only, 
I. To the consuls and patricians ; II. To the Praetorian 

7^ Consult the Notitia Dignitatum at the end of Theodosian <^ode, torn. vi. p. 
316.* 

'G Pancirolus ad Notitiam ntriusque Imperii, p. 39. But Lis explanations are 
obscure, and he does not sutficiently distinguish the painted emblems from the 
clTective ensigns of office. 

" In the i'andects, which may be referred to the reigns of the Antonines, Clar^ 
issimus is the ordinary and legal title of a senator. 



* Constantin, qui rempla9a le grand Patriciat par una noblesse titr^e, et qui 
changea avec d'autres institutions la nature de la societe Latine. est le veritable 
fondateur de Ja royaute moderne, dans ce qu'elle conserva de liomain. Chateau- 
briand, Etud. Histor. Preface, i. 151. Manso (Leben Constantins des Grossen), p. 
153, &c., has given a lucid view of tho dignities and duties of the officers in the 
Imperial court. — M. 



32 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

praefects, with the praefects of Rome and Constantinople; 
III. To the masters-general of the cavalry and the infantry ; 
and, ly. To the seven ministers of the palace, who exercised 
their sacred functions about the person of the emperor.'*^ 
Among those illustrious magistrates who were esteemed co- 
ordinate with each other, the seniority of a})pointment gave 
place to the union of dignities.'^^ By the expedient of 
honorary codicils, the emperors, who w^ere fond of multiply- 
ing their favors, might sometimes gratify the vanity, though 
not the ambition, of impatient courtiers.^*^ 

I. As long as the Roman consuls were the first magis- 
trates of a free state, they derived their right to power from 
the choice of the people. As long as the emperors conde- 
scended to disguise the servitude which they imposed, the 
consuls were still elected by the real or apparent suffrage of 
the senate. From the reign of Diocletian, even these ves- 
tiges of liberty were abolished, and the successful candidates 
who were invested with the annual honors of the consulship, 
affected to deplore the humiliating condition of their prede- 
cessors. The Scipios and the Catos had been reduced to 
solicit the votes of the plebeians, to pass through the tedious 
and expensive forms of a popular election, and to expose 
their dignity to the shame of a public refusal ; while their 
own happier fate had reserved them for an age and govern- 
ment in which the rewards of virtue were assigned by the 
unerring wisdom of a gracious sovereign.^^ In the epistles 
which the emperor addressed to the two consuls elect, it was 
declared that they were created by his sole authority.^^ 
Their names and portraits, engraved on gilt tablets of ivory, 
were dispersed over the empire as presents to the provinces, 
the cities, the magistrates, the senate, and the people.^^ 

78 Pancirol. pp. 12-17. I have not taken any notice of the two inferior ranks, 
Perfectissimus and Eifreglua, which were given to many persons who were not 
raised to the senatorial dignity. 

jy Cod. Theodos. 1. vi. tit. vi. The rules of precedency are ascertained with 
the most minute accuracy by the emperors, and illustrated with equal prolixity 
by their learned interpreter. 

^ Cod. Theodos. 1. vi. tit. xxii. 

81 Ausonius (in Gratiarum Actione) basely expatiates on this unworthy topic, 
which is managed by Mamertinus (Panegyr. A^et. xi. [x] 16, 19) with somewhat 
more freedom anil ingenuity. 

82 Cum de Consulibus in annum creandis. solus mecum volutarem . . . te 
Consulem et designavi, et declaravi, et priorem nuncupavi ; are some of the ex- 
pressions employed by the emperor Gratian to his preceptor, the poet Ausonius. 

^ Immanesque .... dentes 

Qui secti ferro in tabulas auroque micantes, 
Inscripti rutilum ccelato Consule nomen 
Per proeeres et vulgus eant. 

Claud, de Cons. Stillichon. iii. 346. 
Montfrmcon has represented some of these tablets or dypticks ; see Supplement 
ii I'Antiquit^ expliqu6e,tom. iii. p. 220. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 33 

Their solemn inauguration was performed at the place of 
the Imperial residence ; and during a period of one hundred 
and twenty years Rome was constantly deprived of the 
presence of her ancient magistrates.^* On tlie morning of 
the first of January the consuls assumed the ensigns of 
their dignity. Their dress was a robe of purple, embroid- 
ered in silk and gold, and sometimes ornamented with costly 
gems.**^ On this solemn occasion they were attended by the 
most eminent officers of the state and army in the habit 
of senators ; and the useless fasces, armed with the once 
formidable axes, were borne before them by the lictors.^^ 
The procession moved from the palace**^ to the Forum or 
principal square of the city ; where the consuls ascended 
their tribunal, and seated themselves in the curule chairs, 
which were framed after tlie fashion of ancient times. They 
immediately exercised an act of jurisdiction, by the manu- 
mission of a slave, who was brought before them for that 
purpose ; and the ceremony was intended to represent the 
celebrated action of the elder Brutus, the author of lib- 
erty and of the consulship, when he admitted among his 
fellow-citizens the faithful Vindex, who had revealed the 
conspiracy of the Tarquins.^^ The public festival, was con- 

8*Consule laetattir post plurima spcula viso 
Pallaiiteus apex : a^tioscunl rostra ciirulos 
Auditas quondam proavis: di'suptaque cingit 
Regius auratis Fora fascibus Ulpia lictor. 

Claud, ill vi Cons. Honorii, 643. 

From the reiarn of Carus to the sixth consulship of Ilonorius, there was an interval 
of one hundred and twetity years, durint^ which ihe t-inporors were always ahsent 
from Rome on the tirst day of January. See the Chrouologie de Tillemont, torn, 
iii. iv. and v. 

85 See Claudian in Cons. Prob. ct Olybrii, 178, &c. ; and in iv Cons. Honorii, 585, 
<fec. ; though in the latter it is not easy to separate the ornaments of the emperor 
from those of the consul. Au>oniu3 received from the liberality of Gratian a vesiis 
pnlniftta, or robe of state, in which the figure of the emperor Constaatius was em- 
broidered. 

86Cernis ut armorum proceres legumque potentes: 
Patricios sumunt habitus; et more Gabino 
Discolor iiicedit legio, positisqne parumper 
Bellorum signis, seqiiitur vexilia Quirini? 
Lictori cedunt aquilae, ridetque togatus 
Miles, et in mcdiis etitulget curia castris? 

Claud, in iv Cons. Honorii, 

stridasque procul radiare secures. 

In Cons. Prob. 231. 

87 See Valesius ad Amraian. Marcellin. 1. xxii. c. 7. 

88 Auspice mox Iseto sonuit clamore tribunal; 
Te f.istos ineunie quater; solemiiia ludit 
Omina libertas: deductum Vindice morem 
Lex servat, famulusque jugo laxatus herili 
Ducitur, et grato remeat securior ictu. 

Claud, in iv Cons. Honorii, 611. 

Vol. II.— 3. 



34 THE DECLINE AND FALL ^ 

tinued during several days in all the yrlnoipal cities ; in 
Rome, from custom ; in Constantinojile, from imitation ; in 
Carthage, Antioch, and Alexandria, from the love of pleas- 
ure, and the superfluity of wealth. ^^ In the two capitals of 
the empire the annual games of the theatre, the circus, and 
the amphitheatre,^^ cost four thousand pounds of gold, (about) 
one hundred and sixty thousand j^ounds sterling : and if so 
heavy an expense surpassed the faculties or the inclination of 
the magistrates themselves, the sum was supplied from the 
Imperial treasury.^^ As soon as the consuls had discharged 
these customary duties, they were at liberty to retire into 
the shade of private life, and to enjoy, during the remainder 
of the year, the undisturbed contemplation of their own 
greatness. They no longer presided in the national coun- 
cils ; they no longer executed the resolutions of peace or 
war. Their abilities (unless they were employed in more 
effective offices) Avere of little moment; and their names 
served only as the legal date of the year in which they had 
filled the chair of Marius and of Cicero. Yet it Avas* still 
felt and acknowledged, in the last period of Roman servitude, 
that this empty name might be compared, and even preferred, 
to the possession of substantial power. The title of consul 
was still the most splendid object of ambition, the noblest 
reward of virtue and loyalty. The emperors themselves, 
who disdained the faint shadow of the republic, were con- 
scious that they acquired an additional splendor and majesty 
cs often as they assumed the annual honors of the consular 
dignity.®'"^ 

The proudest and most perfect separation which can be 
found in any age or country, between the nobles and the 
people, is perhaps that of the Patricians and the Plebeians, 
as it was established in the first age of the Roman republic. 
Wealth and honors, the ofiices of the state, and the cere- 
monies of religion, were almost exclusively possessed by the 
former ; who, jDreserving the purity of their blood with the 

S5 Celebrant qnidem solemiies istos dies omnes iibique urbes quje sub legibus 
agunt ; et Koiua de more, et Coiistaiitiiiopolisde iniitatione. et Antiocliiaprolu-xu, 
et disfiiicta Curlbago,et doinus llumiiiis Alexandria, sed Treviri Frincipis bene- 
ficio. Ausonius in Grat. Actione. 

'•" Claudian (in Cons. Mall. Tbeodori, 279-331) describes, in a lively and fanci- 
ful manner, the various games of the circus, the theatre, and the amphitheatre, 
exhibited by the new consul. The sanguinary combats of gladiators had already 
been prohibited. 

01 Frocopius in Hist. Arcana, c. 2G. 

9-' In Consnlatu honos sine laliore suscipitur. (Mamertin, in Panegyr. Yet. 
xi. [x.] 2). This exalted idea of the consulship is borrowed from an Oration (iii. 
p. 107) }>ronoun<-ed bv Julian in the servile court of Constantius. See the Abbe 
de la Bleterie Olemoires de I'Acadomie, torn. xxiv. p. 280), who delights to pur- 
sue the vestiges of the old constitution, and who sometimes finds them in his coc 
pious fancy. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 35 

most insulting jealousy,^^ lield their clients in a condition of 
specious vassalage. But these distinctions, so incompatible 
with tlie spirit of a free people, were removed, after a long 
struggle, by the persevering efforts of the Tribunes. The 
most active and successful of the Plebeians accumulated 
wealth, aspired to honors, deserved triumphs, contracted 
alliances, and, after some generations, assumed the pride of 
ancient nobility.'"^^ The Patrician families, on the other 
hand, whose original number was never recruited till the end 
of the commonwealth, either failed in the ordinary course of 
nature, or were extinguished in so many foreign and domes- 
tic wars, or, through a want of merit or fortune, insensibly 
mingled witli the mass of the people.^^ Very few remained 
who could derive their pure and genuine origin from the 
infancy of the city, or even from that of the republic, when 
Caisar and Augustus, Claudius and Vespasian, created from 
the body of the senate a competent number of new Patrician 
families, in the hope of perpetuating an order, which was 
still considered as honorable and sacred.^^ But these artifi- 
cial supplies (in which the reigning house was always in- 
cluded) were rapidly swept away by the rage of tyrants, by 
frequent revolutions, by the change of manners, and by the 
intermixture of nations.^^ Little more was left when 
Constantine ascended the throne, than a vague and imperfect 
tradition, that the Patricians had once been the first of the 

53 Intermarriages between the Patricians and Plebeians were prohibited by 
the laws of the XI[ Tables ; and the uniform operaiious of human nature may 
attest tliut the custom survived the law. See in Livy (iv. l-(j) the pride of family 
urged by the consul, and the rights of mankind asserted by the tribune Canu- 
leius. 

'•^ See the animated picture drawn by Sallust, in the Jngurlliine war, of the 
pi'ide of the nobles, and even of the virtuous Metellu??-, who was unable to brook 
the idea that the honor of the consulship should be bestowed on the obscure merit 
of his lieutenant Marius. (c. Gi.) 'I'wo hundred years before, the race of the Me- 
telli themselves were confounded among the Plebeians of Rome; and from the 
etymology of their name of ('(£ci/i7is,iheA-e is reason to believe that those haughty 
nobles derived their origin from a sullen 

'■*i> In the year of Rome 80n, very few remained, not only of the old Patiician 
families, but even of those which had been ci-eated by Ca'sar and Augustus. 
(Tacit. Anna!, xi. 25.) The family of Scan) us (a branch of the Patricinn ^milii) 
was degraded so low that his father, wl:o exercised the tiadecf acharcoHl mer- 
chant, left him only ten slaves, and somewhat less than three hundred pourds 
sterling. (Valerius Maximus. 1. iv. c 4. n, 11. Aurel. Victor in Scauro.) The 
family was saved from oblivion by the merit of the i-on. 

'•^ Tacit. Annal. xi. 25. Dion "C;is.-ius, 1. iii. p. fiO.".. The virtues of Agricola, 
who was created a Patrici.in by the emperor Vespasian, reflected honor on tb.at 
ancient order ; but his ancestors had not any claim beyond an Equestrian no- 
bility. 

• 9^ This failure would have been almost impossible if it were true, as Casaubon 
compels Aurelius Vi<;tor to affirm (ail Suetou, in Ca-sar, c. 42. See Hist. August. 
p. 203, andCasanl)on Comment., p. 220) that Vespasian created at once a thousand 
Patrician families. But this extravagant number is too mucb even for the whole 
Senatorial order, unless we should include all the Roman knights who weredis^ 
tinguished by the permission of wearing the laticlave. 



36 THE DECLIXE AND FALL 

Romans. To form a body of nobles, whose influence may 
restrain, wliile it secures the authority of the monarch, would 
have been very inconsistent with the character and policy 
of Constantino ; but had he seriously entertained such a 
design, it might have exceeded the measure of his power to 
ratify, by an arbitrary edict, an institution which must expect 
the sanction of time and of opinion. He revived, indeed, 
the title of Patricians, but he revived it as a personal, not as 
an hereditary distinction. They yielded only to the transi- 
ent superiority of the annual consuls ; but they enjoyed the 
preeminence over all the great officers of state, with the most 
familiar access to the person of the prince. This honorable 
rank was bestowed on them for life ; and as they were 
usually favorites, and ministers who had grown old in the 
Imperial court, the true etymology of the word was perverted 
by ignorance and flattery ; and the Patricians of Constantino 
were reverenced as the adopted Fathers of the emperor and 
the republic.^^ 

II. The fortunes of the Praetorian pragfects were essen- 
tially different from those of the consuls and Patricians. 
The latter saw their ancient greatness evaporate in a vain 
title. The former, rising by degrees from the most humble 
condition, were invested with the cIa^I and military admin- 
istration of the Roman world. From the reign of Sever us 
to that of Diocletian, the guards and the palace, the laws 
and the finances, the armies and the provinces, were intrusted 
to their superintending care ; and, like the Viziers of the 
East, they held with one hand the seal, and with the other 
the standard, of the empire. The ambition of the prasfects, 
always formidable, and sometimes fatal to the masters whom 
they served, was supported by the strength of the Praetorian 
bands ; but after those haughty troops had been weakened 
by Diocletian, and finally suppressed by Constantine, the 
pragfects, who survived their fall, were reduced without dif- 
ficulty lo the station of useful and obedient ministers. 
When they were no longer responsible for the safety of the 
emperor's person, they resigned the jurisdiction which they 
had hitherto claimed and exercised over all the departments 
of the palace. They were deprived by Constantine of all 
military commands, as soon as they had ceased to lead into 
the field, under their immediate orders, the flower of the 
Roman troops ; and at length, by a singular revolution, the 
captains of the guards were transformed into the civil 

•8 Zosimus, 1. ii. p. 118 ; and Godefroy ad Ccxl. Tlieodos. I. vi. tit. vi. 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 37 

magistrates of the provinces. According to the plan of 
government instituted by Diocletian, the four princes had 
each their Praetorian pragfect ; and after the monarchy was 
once more united in tlie person of Constantine, he still con- 
tinued to create the same number of four prjsfeots, and 
entrusted to their care the same provinces which they already 
administered. 1. The praifect of the East stretched his 
ample jurisdiction into the three parts of the globe which 
were subject to the Roifltans, from the cataracts of the Nile 
to the banks of the Phasis, and from the mountains of Thrace 
to the frontiers of Persia. 2. The important provinces of 
Pannonia, Dacia, Macedonia, and Greece, once acknowledged 
the authority of the prasfect of lllyricum. 3. The power of 
the praefect of Italy was not confined to the country from 
whence he derived his title ; it extended over the additional 
territory of Ilhaetia as far as the banks of the Danube, over 
the dependent islands of the Mediterranean, and over that 
part of the continent of Africa which lies between the con- 
fines of Cyrene and those of Tingitania. 4. The pra3fect of 
the Gauls comprehended under that plural denomination the 
kindred provinces of Britain and Spain, and his authority 
was obeyed from the wall of Antoninus to the foot of Mount 
Atlas,^^ 

After the Pi-a3torian praefects had been dismissed from 
all military command, the civil functions which they were 
ordained to exercise over so many subject nations were 
adequate to the ambition and abilities of the most consum- 
mate ministers. To their wisdom was committed the 
supreme administration of justice and of the finances, the 
two objects which, in a state of peace, comprehend almost 
air the respective duties of the sovereign and of the people ; 
of the former, to protect the citizens who are obedient to 
tlie laws ; of the latter, to contribute the share of their prop- 
erty which is required for the expenses of the state. The 
eoin, the highways, the posts, the granaries, the manufac- 
tures, whatever could interest the public prcsperit}', ^vas 
moderated by the authority of the Praetorian praefects. As 
the immediate representatives of the Imi:)erial majesty, they 
were empowered to explain, to enforce, and on somp occa- 
sions to modify, the general edicts by their discretionary 
proclamations. " They watched over the conduct of the pro- 

«> Zosimus 1 ii. pp. lOf), 110. If we Lad not fortunately possessed this satis- 
factory account of tlie division of the power and provinces of the Pr.-^tonan 
prjBfects, we sltould frequently have been perplexed amidst the copious details OI 
the Code, and the circumstantial miuuteuess of the Kotitia. 



38 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

vincial governors, removed the negHgeiit, and inflicted 
punishments on the guilty. From all the inferior jurisdic- 
tions, an appeal in every matter of importance, either civil 
or criminal, might be brought before the tribunal of the 
praefect ; but his sentence was final and absolute ; and the 
emperors themselves refused to admit any complaints 
against the judgment or the integrity of a magistrate whom 
they honored with such unbounded coniidence.^°'^ His ap- 
pointments were suitable to his di|^iity ; ^^^ and if avarice 
wa3 his ruling passion, he enjoyed frequent opportunities of 
collecting a rich harvest of fees, of presents, and of per- 
quisites. Though the emperors no longer dreaded the ambi- 
tion of their pnefects, they were attentive to counterbalance 
the power of this great office by the uncertainty and short- 
ness of its duration. ^^^ 

From their superior importance and dignity, Rome and 
Constantinople were alone excepted from the jurisdiction of 
the Praetorian proefects. The immense size of the city, and 
the experience of the tardy, ineffectual operation of the laws, 
had furnished the policy of Augustus with a specious pre- 
tence for introducing a new magistrate, who alone could 
restrain a servile and turbulent populace by the strong ana 
of arbitrary power.^°^ Valerius Messalla was appointed the 
first praefect of Rome, that his reputation might countenance 
so invidious a measure ; but, at the end of a few days, that 
accomi^lished citizen ^°^ resigned his office, declaring, with a 

'^'^ See a law of Constaiitine himself. A prjefectis antem praetorio provocare 
lion sinimus. Cod. Jusliniau. 1. vii. tit. Ixii. leg. 19. Charisias, a lawyer of the 
time of Coiistaiitiue (Heiiiec. Hist. Juris Komani, p. 349), wLo admits this law as 
a fundamental principle of jurisprudence, compai-es the Praitorian prefects to the 
masters of the horse of the ancient dictators. Pandect. 1. i. tit. xi. 

i"^! When Justinian, in the exhausted condition of the empire, instituPtl a 
Praetorian prsefect for Africa, he allowed him a salary of one hundred pounds 
of gold. Cod. eJustinian. 1. i. tit. xxvii. leg. i. 

i'J2 For this, and the other dijjnilies of the empire, it maybe sufficient to refer 
to the amnle commentaries of Panoirolus and Godefrov, who have diligenily col- 
lected and accurately digested in their proper order all the legal and historical 
materials. From those authors, Dr. Howell (History of the World, vol. ii. pp. 
24-77) has deduced a very distinct abridgment of the state of the Pouian empire. 

1"^ Tacit. Annal. vi. 11. Eusel). in Chron. p. 155. Dion Cassins,in the oration 
of Maecenas (1. Ivii. p. G75), describes the prerogatives of the praifect of the city 
as they were established in his own time. 

1*^ The fame of Messalla has been scarcely equal to his merit. In his earliest 
youth he was recommended by Cicero to the friendship of Brutus. He followed 
the standard of the republic till it wiis broken in the lields of Phiiippi ; he then 
accepted ftnd deserved the favor of the most moderate of the conquerors; and 
uniformly asserted his freedom and dignity in the court of Augustus. The 
triumph oF Messalla was justified by the conrpn'st of Aquilaiu. As an orator, he 
disputed the palm of eloquence with Cicero himself. ]\Iessalla cultivated every 
n^use. and was the patron of every man of genius. He spent his evenings in phil- 
osophic conversatioir with Horace ; assumed his place at table between Delia and 
TibiiUus; and amused his leisure by encouraging the poetical talents of young 
Ovid. ' 



OF THE ROM AX EMPIRE. 39 

spirit worthy of the friend of Brutus, tliat he found liimself 
incapable of exercising a power incompatible with public 
freedom. ^°^ As the sense of liberty became less exquisite, 
the advantages of order were more clearly understood ; and 
the pr?efect, who seemed to have been designed as a terror 
only to slaves and vagrants, was permitted to extend his 
civil and criminal jurisdiction over the equestrian and noble 
families of Rome. The pi'ietors, annually created as the 
judges of law and equity, could not long dispute the pos- 
session of the Forum with a vigorous and permanent magis- 
trate, who was usually admitted into the confidence of the 
prince. Tlieir courts were deserted, their number, Avhich 
had once liuctuated between twelve and eighteen, ^*^*^ was 
gradually reduced to two or three, and their important 
functions were confined to the expensive obligation ^^"^ of 
exhibiting games for the amusement of the peoi)le. After 
the office of Roman consuls had been changed into a vain 
pageant, which was rarely displayed in the capital, the prse- 
fects assumed their vacant place in the senate, and were 
soon acknowledged as the ordinary presidents of that vener- 
able assembly. They received ap])eals from the distance of 
one hundred miles ; and it was allowed as a principle of 
jurisprudence, that all municipal authority Avas derived from 
tliem alone. ^'^'^ In the discharge of his laboi-ious employ- 
ment, the governor of Rome was assisted by fifteen officers, 
some of whom had been originally his equals, or even his 
superiors. The principal departments were relative to the 
command of a numerous watch, established as a safeguard 
against fii-es, robberies, and nocturnal disorders ; the custody 
and distribution of the public allowance of corn and ])ro- 
visions ; the care of the ])ort, of the aqueducts, of the com- 
mon sewers, and of the navigation and bed of the Tiber; 
the inspection of the markets, the theatres, and of the 
]M-ivate as well as public works. Their vigilance insured 
the three principal objects of a regular police, safety, plenty, 

105 Tucivilem esse potestatem con testaiiH, says the translate!" of Eusebius. Tac- 
itus expresses the same idea in other words : quasi nescius exercendi. 

1'-^'^ See Lii)sius, Excursus ]). ad 1 lib. Tacit. Anna). 

''^' Heineccii Element. Juris (Mviiissecund.ordinem Pandect, torn. i. p. 70. See, 
likewise, Si)a;ilieini de L'su Kumisniatum, torn. ii. dissertat. x. p. 111). In the year 
450, Marcian published a law, tliat three citizens should be annually created Prae- 
tors of Con;;ta!itinople by the choice of the senate, but with their own consent. 
Cud. JnsUiiian, li. i. tit.'xxxix. l-g. 2. 

"^ Qi-ihlquid i^itur intra urbimradmittitur, ad P. U, videtnr pertinere ; sed 
et siquid intra cimtesimum milliarium. Ulpian in Pandect. 1. i. tit. xiii. n. 1. 
He i)roceeds to enumerate the various oflices of the prajfect, who, in the code of 
Justinian (1. i. tit. xxxix. leg. 3), is declared to precede and command all city 
maijistrates sine injuria ac detrimento honoris alieni. 



40 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

and cleanliness ; and as a proof of the attention of govern- 
ment to ])reserve tlie splendor and ornaments of the capital, 
a particnlar inspector was ap])ointed for the statnes ; tlie 
guardian, as it were, of that inanimate people, whicli, ac- 
cording to the extravagant compntation of an old writer, 
was scarcely inferior in number to the living inhabitants of 
Rome. About thirty years after the foundation of Con- 
stantinople, a similar magistrate was created in that rising 
metropolis, for the same uses and with the same powers. A 
perfect equality was established between tlie dignity of the 
tico municipal, and that of tXiQ four Praetorian prtefects.^^^ 

Those who, in the Imperial hierarchy, were distinguished 
by the title of Respectable^ formed an intermediate class be- 
tween the illustrious pra3fects, and the honorable magis- 
trates of the provinces. In this class the proconsuls of Asia, 
Achaia, and Africa, claimed a preeminence, which was 
yielded to the remembrance of their ancient dignity; and 
the appeal from tlieir tribunal to that of the ])r?efects was 
almost the only mark of their de})endence."'^ But the civil 
government of the empire w^ns distribnted into thirteen 
great dioceses, each of which equalled the just measure of 
a powerful kingdom. The first of these dioceses was subject 
to the jurisdiction of the count oi the east; and we may 
convey some idea of the importance and variety of his func- 
tions, by observing, that six hundred apparitors, who would 
be styled at present either secretaries, or clei'ks, or ushers, 
or niessengers, were employed in his immediate office. ^^^ 
The place of Augustal prcefect of Egypt was no longer 
filled by a Roman knight; but the name was retained; 
and the extraordinary powers which the situation of tlie 
country, and the temper of the indiabitants, had once made 
indispensable, Avere still continued to the governor. The 
eleven remaining dioceses, of Asiana, Pontica, and Thrace; 
of Macedonia, l)acia, and Pannonia, or Western Illyricum ; 
of Italy and Africa ; of Gaul, Spain, and Britain ; were 
governed by twelve vicars or vice-pra^fects^^'^- whose name 

1^ Besides our usual guides, we mfiy observe that Felix Canteloiius Las writleii 
a separate treatise, De Praefecto Urbis'; and that many curious details conteniing 
the police of Konie and Constantinople are -contained in tlie fourteenth book of 
the Theodosian Code. 

"" Eiinapius allirms, that the proconsul of Asia was independeiit of the pra-fect; 
which must, however, be understood with some .'iliowaiue : \he jurisiliction of 
the vice praifect lie r.iost assuredly disclaimed. Paucirulus, \\. ICl. 

m The proconsul of Alrif a had four hundred apparitors; and they all re- 
ceived large salaries, either from the treasury or the province. See Fancirol. p. 
2G, and Cod. Jusiijiian. 1. xii. tit. Ivi. Ivii. 

ii- In Italy there was likewise the Vicar of Rome. It has been much disputed, 
•whether his jurisdictioii measured one hundre<l miles from the ciiv, or whether 
it stretched over ihe ten southern provinces of Italy. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 41 

sufficiently explains the nature and dependence of their 
office. It may be added, that the lieutenant-generals of the 
Roman armies, the military counts and dukes, who will be 
hereafter mentioned, were allowed the rank and title of 
liespecfr'ible. 

As the spirit of jealousy and ostentation prevailed in the 
councils of the emperors, they proceeded with anxious dili- 
gence to di\ ide tlie substance and to multiply the titles of 
power. The vast countries which the Roman conquerors 
had united under the same simple form of administration, 
were im})erceptibly crumbled into minute fragments; till at 
leniith the whole empire was distributed into one hundred 
and sixteen provinces, each of which suj)j)orted an expen- 
sive and s])lendid establishment. Of these, three were 
governed hy proco7isuls, thirty-seven by consulars^ five by cor- 
rectors^ and seventy-one hy iwesiderits. The appellations of 
these magi^rates wei-e dilferent; they ranked in successive 
order, the ensigns of their dignity were cuiiously varied, 
and their situation, from a(;cidental circumstances, might be 
more or less agreeable or advantageous. But they were all 
(excepting only the proconsuls) alike included in the class 
of honorable persons; and they were alike intrusted, during 
the pleasure of the prince, and under the authority of the 
]»raefects or their clei)uties, with the administration of justice 
and the finances in their respective districts. The ponder- 
ous volumes of the Codes and Pandects"^ would furnish 
ample materials for a minute inquiry into the system of 
provincial government, as in the space of six centuries it 
was improved by the wisdom of the Roman statesmen and 
lawyers. It may be sufficient for the historian to select two 
singular and salutary j)rovisions, intended to restrain the 
abuse of authority. 1. For the preservation of peace and 
order, the governors of the provinces were armed with the 
sword of justice. They inflicted corporal punishments, and 
they exercised, in capital offences, the power of life and 
death. But they were not authorized to indulge the con- 
demned criminal with the choice of his own execution, or 
to i)ronounce a sentence of the mildest and most honorable 
kind of exile. These prerogatives were reserved to the 
pra^fects, who alone could impose the heavy fine of fifty 
pounds of gold : their vicegerents were confined to the 

11' Among tlie works of (lie celebrated Ulpiaii, there was one in ten books, con- 
cerning the office <'f a proconsul, whose tluties in the most essential articles were 
the same as those of an ordinary governor of a proviuce. 



42 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

trifling weiglit of a few ouiicos.^^^ This distinction, which 
seems to o^rant the Larger, while it denies the smaller degree 
of authoi'ity, was founded on a very rational motive. The 
smaller degree was inflnitely more liable to abuse. The pas- 
sions of a provincial magistrate miglit frequently provoke 
him into acts of oppression, wldcli affected only the free- 
dom or the fortunes of the sul)ject ; though, from a ])rinci- 
ple of prudence, perhaps of humanity, lie might still be 
terrified by the guilt of innocent blood. It may likewise 
be considered, that exile, considerable fines, or tlie choice of 
an easy death, relate more particularly to the rich and the 
noble ; and the persons the most exposed to the avarice or 
resentment of a provincial magistrate, were thus removed 
from his obscure ]3ersecution to tlie more august and impar- 
tial tribunal of tlie Projtorian pricfect. 2. As it was rea- 
sonably appreliended that the integrity of the judge might 
be biased, if his interest was concerned, or his affections 
were engaged, the strictest regulations were established, to 
exclude any person, without the special dispensation of the 
em])eror, from the government of the province where he 
was born ; ^^^ and to prohibit the governor or his son from 
contracting marriage with a native, or an inhabitant ; ^^'^ or 
from purchasing shiA'CS, lands, or houses, within the extent 
of his jurisdiction.^^"' Notwithstanding these rigorous pre- 
cautions, the em.peror Constantine, after a reign of twenty- 
five years, still deplores the venal and oppressive adminis- 
tration of justice, and expresses tlie warmest indignation 
that the audience of the judge, his despatch of business, liis 
seasonable delays, and his final sentence, were publicly sold, 
either by himself or by the ofiicers of his court. The con- 
tinuance, and perhaps the impunity, of these crimes, is 
attested by the I'cpetition of impotent laws and ineffectual 
men aces. •'^'^ 

!'■* Tlie presidents, or oonsulars, conld impose onlj' two ouiK^es : the vice-proe- 
fects, three ; the procor.suls, count of the east, and pr.'efect t)f Egjpt, six. See 
Heineocii Jur. Civil, torn. i. p. 75. Pandect. 1. xlviii. tit. xix. n. 8- Cod. Justin- 
ian, 1. i. tit. liv. leg. 4, (J. 

11^ Ut nulli patriae suae administratio sine speciali princij)is permissu perniit- 
tatur. Cod. Justinian. 1. 1. tit. xli. This law was tirst enacted by the emperor 
Marcus, after the rebellion of Cassius. (Dion. 1. Ixxi.) T'ue same regulation is 
obs 'rved in China, with ecjual strictness, and with equal ctt'ect. 

11' Pandect. 1. xxiii. tit. ii. n. ;5S, .57, (>'!. 

11' In jure continetur, ne quis in adniijiistratione constitutus aliquid compar 
aret. Cod. Theod. 1. viii. tit. xv. leg. 1. This maxim of conunon law was enforce*] 
by a series of edicts (see the remainder of the title) from Constantine to Justin. 
From this prohibition, which is extended to the meanest otlicersof the governor, 
they except only clothes and provisions. 'J'he purchase within live years may bo 
recovered ; after which, on information, it devolves to the treasury. 

113 Cessent rapaces jam nunc othcialium manns ; cessent, inquam, nam si 
uioniti 11011 cessaverint, gladiis piaicidentur, &c. Cod. Theod. 1. i. tit- vii. leg. 1. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIEE. 43 

All the civil magistrates were drawn from tlie profession 
of the law. The celebrated Institutes of Justinian are ad- 
dressed to the youth of his dominions, who had devoted 
themselves to the study of Koman jurisprudence; and the 
sovereign condescends to animate their diligence, by the 
assurance that their skill and ability would in time be re- 
warded by an adequate share in the government of the 
republic. -^^'-^ The rudiments of this lucrative science were 
taught in all tlie considerable cities of the east and west ; 
but the most famous school was that of Berytus,^-° on the 
coast of Phoenicia ; which flourished above three centuries 
from the time of Alexander Severus, the author perha])s of 
an institution so advantageous to his native countiy. After 
a regular course of education, which lasted five years, the 
students dispersed themselves through the proviiices, in 
search of fortune and honors ; iior could they want an in- 
exhaustible su])ply of business in a great empire, already 
corrupted by the multi[)licity of laws, of arts, and of vices. 
Tlie court of the Prastorian praifect of the east could alone 
furnish em])loyment for one hundred and fifty advocates, 
sixty-four of whom were distinguished by peculiar privileges ; 
and two Avere annually chosen, with a salary of sixty 
pounds of gold, to defend the causes of the treasury. The 
first experiment Avas made of their judicial talents, by ap- 
pointing them to act occasionally as assessors to the magis- 
trates ; from thence they were often raised to ])reside in the 
tribunals before which they had ])leaded. They obtained 
the government of a province; and, by the aid of merit, of 
reputation, or of favor, they ascended, by successive steps, 
to the ilhistrious dignities of the state. ^-^ In the practice 

Zeno eiiaoted that all governors should remain in the province, to answer any 
ai'.cusatioiis. lifty days after the exxjiration of their power. Cod. Justinian. 1. ii. 
tit. xlix. leg. 1. 

ii-* Sumuia igltur ope, et alacri studio has leges nostras accipite ; ot vosmetip- 
sos sie eruditos ostendite, ut spes vos y)ulcherriina faveat ; toto legitinio opeie 
perfecto, posse etiarn nostrani renipub]i( am in partibus ejus vobis credeudis gu- 
bernari. Justinian, in ])roem. lns;iluiionum. 

i-** Tlie splendor of the school of Berytus, which preserved in tl;3 east the lan- 
guage and jurisprudence of the Komans, may be computed to have lasted from 
the third to the middle of the sixth century, lleinecc. Jur. Kom. Hist. pp. ;i5l 
-350. 

121 As in a former period I have traced the civil and military promotion of 
Pertinax, 1 shall here insert the civil honors of ]\Iallius Tlieodorus. 1. He was 
distinguished by his eloquence, while he pleaded as an advocate in the court (if 
the Prailoriau pra-fect. 2. He governed one of the provinces of Africa, eitlicr as 
I«-esident or consular, and deserved, by his administration, the honor of a brass 
statue. ."!. Tie was appointed vicar, or vice-prjcfect, of Macedonia. 4. Qua^.-^tor. 
5. Cou)it of the sacred largesses. 6. Praetorian praifect of the Gauls; whilst lie 
might vet be represented as a young man 7. After a retreat, perliaps a disgrace, 
of many years, which Mallius (confounded by some critics with tl^.e i)oet Manilius; 
seeFabriciusBibliothec. Latin. Edit. Ernest, torn. i. e. 18, \y.Lm employed in the 



44 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of the bar, these men liad considered reason as tlie instru- 
ment of dispute ; they interpreted the laws according to tlie 
dictates of private interest; and the same pernicious liabits 
migiit still adhere to their chai^acters in the public adminis- 
tration of tlie state. The honor of a liberal profession has 
indeed been vindicated by ancient and modern advocates, 
Avho have filled the most important stations, with j)ure in- 
tegrity and consummate wisdom; but in the decline of 
Roman jurisprudence, the ordinary promotion of lawyers 
was pregnant with mischief and disgrace. The noble art, 
Avhich had once been ])reserved as the sacred inlieritance of 
the patricians, was fallen into the hands of freedmen aud 
plebeians,^-^^ who, with cunning rather than v.ith skill, exer- 
cised a sordid and pernicious trade. Some of them pro- 
cured admittance into families for the purpose of fomenting 
differences, of encouraging suits, and of preparing a harvcist 
of gain for themselves or their brethren. Otiiers, recluse in 
their chambers, maintained the gravity of legal professors, 
by furnishing a rich client with subtleties to confound the 
plainest truths^ aiii with arguments to color the most un- 
justifiable pretensions. The splendid and popular class was 
composed of the advocates, who filled the Forum with the 
sound of their turgid and loquacious rhetoric. Careless of 
fame and of justice, they are described, for the most part, 
as ignorant and rapacious guides, who conducted their 
clients through a maze of expense, of delay, and of disap- 
pointment ; from whence, after a tedious series of years, 
they were at length dismissed, when their patience and for- 
tune were .-drnost exhausted. -^-^ 

III. In the system of policy introduced by Augustus, 
the governors, those at least of the Imperial provinces, were 
invested with the full powers of the sovereign himself. 
Ministers of peace and war, the distribution of rewards and 

study of the Grecian philosophy, he was named Prjetorian prefect of Italy, in the 
year 3f)7. 8. While he still exercised that great otlice, he was created, in the Vv-ar 
o:t9, consul for the West ; and Iris name, on account of the infamy of hiscoUea'^ue, 
the eunuch Eutropius, often stands alone in the Fasti. 9. In the year 4U>«. ^lal- 
lins was appointed a second time Prsetorian proifect of Italy. Even in the venal 
paaegyric of Claudian, we may discover the merit of Mallius Thecdorus, who. by 
a rare felicity, was the intimate friend, both of Symmachus and St. Augustin. 
See Tillemor.t, Hist. des. Emp, torn. v. pp. 1110-1114. 

1-2 Mamertinus in Panegyr. Vet. xi. [x.] 20. Asterius apud Photium. p. 1500. 

123 The curious passage of Aminiauus (1. xxx. c. 4), in which he paints the 
manners of contemporary lawyers, allords a strange mixture of sound sense, false 
rhetoric, and extravagant satire, (lodet'roy (Prolegoni. ad Cotl. Theod. c. i. p. 
JS.5) supports the histoi'ian by similar complaints and authentic facts. In the 
fourth century, many camels "might have been laden with law-books. Euuapius 
in Vit. .^Edesii, p. 72. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 45 

punishments depended on them alone, and they successively- 
appeared in their tribunal in the robes of civil magistracy, 
and in complete armor at the head of the Roman legions.^^* 
The influence of the revenue, the authority of law, and the 
command of a military force, concurred to render their 
power supreme and absolute ; and whenever they were 
tempted to violate their allegiance, the loyal province which 
they involved in their rebellion was scarcely sensible of any 
change in its political state. From the time of Commodus 
to the reign of Constantine, near one hundred governors 
might be enumerated, who, with various success, erected the 
standard of revolt; and though the innocent were too often 
sacrificed, the guilty might be sometimes prevented, by the 
suspicious cruelty of their master.^'^^ To secure his throne 
and the public tranquillity from these formidable servants, 
Constantine resolved to divide the military from the civil 
administration, and to establish, as a permanent and profes- 
sional distinction, a practice which had been adopted only as 
an occasional expedient. The supreme jurisdiction exercised 
by the Praetorian praefects over the armies of the empire, 
was transferre '' to the two niasters-r/eneral whom he in- 
stituted, the one for the cavalrj/^ the other for the infantry , 
and though each of these illustrious officers was more 
peculiarly responsible for the discipline of those troops which 
were under his immediate inspection, they both indifferently 
commanded in the field the several bodies, whether of horse 
or foot, which were united in the same army.^-® Their num- 
ber was soon doubled by the division of the east and west ; 
and as separate generals of the same rank and title were ap- 
pointed on the four important frontiers of the Rhine, of the 
tipper and the Lower Danube, and of the Euphrates, the 
defence of the Roman empire was at length committed to 
eight masters-general of the cavalry and infantry. Under 
their orders, thirty-five military commanders were stationed 
in the provinces : three in Britain, six in Gaul, one in Spain, 
one in Italy, five on the Upper, and four on the Lower 
Danube ; in Asia, eight, three in Egypt, and four in Africn. 

124 See a very splendid example in the life of Agricola, particularly c. 20,21. 
The lieutenant of Britain was intrusted with the same powers which Cicero, pro- 
consul of Cilicia, had exercised in the name of the senate and people. 

^^ The Abbe Dubos, who has examined with accuracy (see Hist, de la Monar- 
chic Franpoise. torn. i. pp. 41-100. edit. 1742) the institutions of Augustus and of 
Constantine, observes, that if Otho had been put to death the day before he ex- 
ecuted his conspiracy, Otho would now appear in history as innocent as Corbulo. 

!'•» Zosimus, 1. ii. p. 110. Before the end of the reign of Constantius, \he mag- 
istri mU'Uum were already increased to four. See Velesius ad Ammian. 1. xvi. c. 7. 



4G THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

The titles of counts and dakes^'^ by wliicli tiiey ■\vere prop- 
erly distinguished, have obtained in modern languages so 
very different a sense, that tlie use of them may occasion 
some sur])rise. But it should be recollected, that the second 
of those appellations is only a corruption of the Latin word, 
which was indiscriminately applied to any military chief. 
All these provincial generals were therefore dukes ; but no 
more than ten amonij^ them were diunified with the rank of 
counts or companions, a title of honor, or rather of favor, 
which had been recently invented in the court of Constantine. 
A gold belt was tlie ensign which distinguished the ofKce of 
the counts and dukes ; and besides their pay, they received 
a liberal allowance sufiicient to maintain one hundred and 
ninety servants, and one hundred and fifty-eight horses. They 
were strictly prohibited from interfering in any matter which 
related to the administration of justice or the revenue; but 
the command which they exercised over the troops of their 
department, Avas independent of the authority of tlie magis- 
trates. About the^ same time that Constantine ijave a Icjial 
sanction to the ecclesiastical order, he instituted in the 
Roman empire the nice balance of the civil and the military 
powers. The emulation, and sometimes the discord, which 
reigned between two pi'ofessions of opjDosite interests and 
incompatible manners, was productive of beneficial and of 
pernicious consequences. It was seldom to be expected that 
the general and the civil governor of a province should either 
cons])ire for the disturbance, or should unite for the service, 
of their country. Wliile the one delayed to offer the assist- 
ance wliicli the other disdained to solicit, the troops very 
frequently remained without orders or Avithout supplies ; the 
public safety was betrayed, and the defenceless subjects 
were left exposed to the fury of the Barbarians. The divided 
administration, which had been formed by Constantine, re- 
laxed the vigor of the state, while it secured the tranquillity 
of the monai'ch. 

The memory of Constantine has been deservedly censured 
for another innovation, which corrupted military disci])line 
and ])repared the ruin of the empire. Tlie nineteen years 
which preceded his final victory over Licinius, had been a 
period of license and intestine war. The rivals who con- 

'27 Though the military counts and dnkpa are frequently mentioned, hoth in 
history and the codes, we must have recourst; to tlie Notiiia for the exact knowl- 
edge of their number and stations. For the iiistitutiou, r;ink, jirivileges, &c., of 
the counts in general, see Cod. Theod. \. vi. tit. xii— xx., with the commentary of 
Godefroy. 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 47 

tended for the possession of the Roman world, had withdrawn 
the greatest ])art of their forces from the guard of the general 
frontier; and the principal cities which formed the boundary 
of their resi)ective dominions were filled with soldiers, who 
considered their countrymen as their most im|)lacable 
enemies. After the use of these internal garrisons had ceased 
with the civil war, the conqueror wanted either wisdom or 
firmness to revive the severe discipline of Diocletian, and to 
suppress a fatal indulgence, which habit had endeared and 
almost confirmed to the military order. From the reign of 
Constantine, a popular and even legal distinction was ad- 
mitted between tlie Palatines^'^'^ and the Borderers ; the 
troops of the court, as they were improperly styled, and the 
troops of the frontier. Tiie former, elevated by the superior- 
ity of their pay and privileges, were permitted, except in the 
extraordinary emergencies of war, to occupy their tranquil 
stations in the heart of the provinces. The most flourishing 
cities were oppressed by the intolerable weight of quarters. 
The soldiers insensibly forgot the virtues of their profession, 
and contracted only the vices of civil life. They were either 
degraded by the industry of mechanic trades, or enervated by 
the luxury of baths and theatres. They soon became care- 
less of their martial exercises, curious in their diet and ap- 
parel ; and while they inspired terror to the subjects of the 
empire, they trembled at the hostile approach of the Barba- 
rians.-^^^ The chain of fortifications which Diocletian and his 
colleascues had extended alom>; the banks of the m-eat rivers, 
was no longer maintained with the same care, or defended 
with the same vicrilance. The numbers which still remained 
under the name of the troops of the frontier, might be suf- 
ficient for the ordinary defence ; but their spirit was degraded 
by the liumiliating reflection, that they who were exposed to 
the hardships and dangers of a perpetual warfare, were re- 
warded only with about two-thirds of the pay and emoluments 
which were lavished on the troops of the court. Even the 
bands or lesrions that Avere raised the nearest to the level of 
those unworthy favorites, were in some measure disgraced 
by the title of honor which they were allowed to assume. It 

^23 Zosimus, 1. ii. p. 111. The distinction between the two classes of Roman 
troops is very darkly expressed in the historians, the laws, and the Kotitia. Con- 
sult, however, the copious ;;ant/i</o«, or abstract, which Godefroy has drawn up 
of the seventh book, de Re Militari, of the Theodosian Code, 1. vii. tit. i. leg. 18, 
1. viii. tit. i. leg. 10. 

i-'J Ferox erat in suos miles et rapax. ignavus vero in hostes et fractus. Am- 
mian. 1. xxii. c. 4. fie observes that tliey loved downy beds and houses of inarbio; 
and that their cups were heavier than their swords. 



48 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

was in vain that Constantine repeated the most dreadful 
menaces of fire and sword as^ainst the Borderers who should 
dare to desert their colors, to connive at the inroads of the 
Barbarians, or to participate in the spoiL^^'^ The mischiefs 
which flow from injudicious counsels are seldom removed by 
the application of partial severities : and though succeeding 
princes labored to restore the strength and numbers of the 
frontier garrisons, the empire, till the last moment of its dis- 
solution, continued to languish under the mortal wound which 
had been so rashly or so weakly inflicted by the hand of 
Constantine. 

The same timid policy, of dividing Avhatever is united, 
of reducing whatever is eminent, of dreading every 
active power, and of expecting that the most feeble 
"will prove the most obedient, seems to pervade the 
institutions of several princes, and particularly those of 
Constantine. The martial pride of the legions, whose vic- 
torious camps had so often been the scene of rebellion, was 
nourished by the memory of their past exploits, and the 
consciousness of their actual strength. As long as they 
maintained their ancient establishment of six thousand men, 
they subsisted, under the reign of Diocletian, each of them 
singly, a visible and important object in the military history 
of the Roman empire. A few years afterwards these gigantic 
bodies were shrunk to a very diminutive size ; and when seven 
legions, with some auxiliaries, defended the city of Amida 
against the Persians, the total garrison, with the inhabitants 
of both sexes, and the peasants of the deserted country, 
did not exceed the number of twenty thousand persons. ^^^^ 
From this fact, and from similar examples, there is reason 
to believe that the constitution of the legionary troops, to 
which they partly owed their valor and discipline, was 
dissolved by Constantine ; and that the bands of Roman 
infantry, which still assumed the same names and the same 
honors, consisted only of one thousand or fifteen hundred 
men.^^^ The cons{)iracy of so many separate detachments, 
each of which was awed by the sense of its own weakness, 
could easily be checked ; and the successors of Constantine 
might indulge their love of ostentation, by issuing their 

^■i'^ Cod, Theod. 1. vii. tit. i. leg. 1, tit. xii. leg. i. See Howell's Hist, of the 
World, vol. ii. p. 19. That learned historian, who is not sutliciently known, 
labors to justify the character ui.d policy of Constantine. 

•^i Ammian. 1. xix. c. 2. He observes {c. 5.) that the desperate sallies of two 
Gallic logions were like a handful of water thrown on a great conflagration. 

132 Pancirolus ad Notitiani, p. 9G. Memoires de I'Academie des Inscriptions, 
torn. XXV. p. 491, 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 49 

orders to one Imndred and thirty-two les^ions, inscribed on 
the muster-roll of their numerous armies. The remainder of 
their troops was distributed into several hundred cohorts of 
infantry, and squadrons of cavalry. Their arms, and titles, 
and ensigns, wei-e calculated to ins])ire terror, and to dis))lay 
the variety of nations who marched under the Imperial 
standard. And not a vesti2:c was left of that severe cim- 
plicity, which, in the ages of freedom and victory, had dis- 
tinguished tlie line of battle of the Roman army from the 
confused liost of an Asiatic monarch.^"^ A more particular 
enumeration, drawn from the Notitia^ might exercise the 
diligence of an antiquary ; but the historian will content 
himself with observing, that the number of permanent 
stations or garrisons established on the frontiers of the 
empire, amounted to five hundred and eighty-three ; and 
that, under the successors of Constantine, the complete 
force of the military establishment was com])uted at six 
hundred and forty-five tliousand soldiers.^^^ An effort so 
prodigious surpassed the wants of a more ancient, and the 
faculties of a later, })eriod. 

In the various states of society, armies are recruited 
from very different motives. Barbarians are urged by the 
love of war ; the citizens of a free republic may be prompted 
by a principle of cluty ; the subjects, or at least the nobles, 
of a monarcliy, are animated by a sentiment of honor ; 
but the timid and luxurious inhabitants of a declinins: 
empire must be allured into the service by the hopes of 
profit, or compelled by the dread of punishment. The 
resources of the Roman treasury were exhausted by the 
increase of pay, by the repetition of donatives, and by the 
invention of new emoluments and indulgences, which, in 
the opinion of the provincial youth, might compensate the 
hardships and dangers of a military life. Yet, although the 
stature was lowered,^^^ although slaves, at least by a tacit 
connivance, were indiscriminately received into Uie ranks, 
the insurmountable difficulty of procuring a regular and 

133 Romana acies unius prope formje erat et hominum et armorum genere. — 
Regia acies vavia magis inultis gentibus dissiinilitudiiie armoruin auxilioruruque 
erat. T. Liv, 1. xxxvii. c, 39, 40. Flaminius, even before the event, had com- 
pared the army of Antiochus to a supper, in whicli tlie tiesh of one vile animal 
w^as diversified by the skill of the cooks. See the Life of Flaminius in Plutarch. 

134 Agathias, 1. v. p, 157. edit. Louvre. 

135 Valentiniau (Cod. Theodos. 1. vii. tit, xiii. leg. 3) fixes the standard at five 
feet seven inches, about five feet four inches and a half, Englisli measure. It 
liad formerly been five feet ten inches, and in the best corps, six Roman feet. 
Sed tunc erat amplior n\uititudo, et plures sequebantur militiam armatam, 
Vegetius de Re Militari. 1. i. c. v. 

Vol. II.— 4 



5,0 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

adequate supply of volunteei*s, obliged the emperors to 
adopt more effectual and coercive methods. The lands 
bestowed on the veterans, as the free reward of their valor, 
were henceforward granted under a condition which contains 
the first rudiments of the feudal tenures ; that their sons, 
who succeeded to the inheritance, should devote themselves 
to the profession of arms, as soon as they attained the age 
of manhood ; and their cowardly refusal was punished by 
the loss of honor, of fortune, or even of life.-^^" But as the 
annual growth of the sons of the veterans bore a A'ery small 
proportion to the demands of the service, levies of men 
Avere frequently required from the provinces, and every 
proprietor was obliged either to take uj> arms, or to procure 
a substitute, or to purchase his exemption by the payment 
of a heavy fine. The sum of forty-two pieces of gold, to 
which it Avas reduced^ ascertains the exorbitant price of 
volunteers, and the reluctance Avith Avhich the government 
admitted of this alternative.^^' Such was the horror for the 
profession of a soldier, which had affected the minds of the 
degenerate Komans, that many of the youth of Italy and 
the provinces chose to cut off the fingers of their right 
hand, to escape from being pressed into the service ; and 
this strange expedient was so commonly practised as to 
deserve the severe animadversion of the laws,-^^* and a 
peculiar name in the Latin language.^^ 

The introduction of Barbarians into the Roman armies 
became every day more universal, more necessary, and more 
fatal. The most daring of the Scythians, of the Goths, and 

13C See the two titles, De Vetcanis and De Filiis Yeteranorum, in the seventh 
hook of the Theodosian Code. The age at which their military service wns re- 
quired, varied from twenty-tive to sixteen. If the sons of the veterans appeared 
with a horse, they had a right to serve iu the cavalry ; two horses gave them 
some valuable privileges. 

1-^' Cod. Theod. 1. vii. tit. xiii. leg. 7. According to the liistorian Socrates 
(see Godefroy ad loc.),the same emperor Valens sometimes i-equired eighty pieces 
of gold for a recruit. In the following law it is faintly expressed, that slaves 
shall not be admitted inter optinias leetissimorum militum tiirinas. 

iji* The person and property of a Koman knight, who had mutilated his two 
sons, were sold at public auction by order of Augustus (Sueton. in August, c. 127). 
The moderation of that artful usurper proves, that this example of severity was 
jistiiied by the spirit of the limes. Ammianus makes a distinction between the 
effeminate Italians and the hardy Gauls, (L. xv. c.'12). Yet only lo years after- 
wards, Valentinian, in a law address to the pnefect of Gaul, is obliged to enact 
that these cowardly deserters shall be burnt alive. (Cod. Theod. I. vii. tit xiii. 
leg. 5)- Their iiumbers in lUyricuiu were so considerable, that the province 
complained of a scarcity of recruits (Id. leg. 10). 

ijy They were called Mitrci. Micrcidus is found in Plautns and Festus, to 
denote a lazy and cowardly person, who, according to Arnobius and Augustin, 
was under the immediate protection of the goddess MurcUi. From this particu- 
lar instance of cowardice, 7)?»trca7v is used as svnonynious to mutUdn ^\)\ the 
writers of the middle Latinity. See Liudenbrogius, and Yalesius ad AmmiaJi. 
Marcellin, 1. xv. c. 12. 



or THE EOMAX EMPIRE. 61 

of the Germans, who deliglited in war, and who found it 
more profitable to defend than to ravage the provinces, 
were enrolled, not only in the auxiliaries of their respective 
nations, but in the legions themselves, and among the most 
distinguished of the Palatine troops. As they freely mingled 
with the subjects of the empire, they gradually learned to 
despise their manners, and to imitate their arts. They 
abjured the implicit reverence which the pride of Rome 
had exacted from their ignorance, while they acquired the 
knowledge and possession of those advantages by which 
alone she supported her declining greatness. The Bar- 
barian soldiers, Avho displayed any military talents, were 
advanced, without exception, to the most important com- 
mands ; and the names of the tribunes, of the counts and 
dukes, and of the generals .themselves, betray a foreign 
origin, whicli they no longer condescended to disguise. 
They were often intrusted Avith tlie conduct of a w^ar 
against their countrymen ; and though most of them pre- 
ferred the ties of allegiance to those of blood, they did not 
always avoid the guilt, or at least the suspicion, of holding 
a treasonable correspondence Avith the enemy, of inviting 
his invasion, or of sparing his retreat. The camps and the 
palace of the son of Constantino were governed by the 
powerful faction of the Franks, who preserved the strictest 
connection with each other, and with their country, and 
who resented every personal affront as a national indig- 
nity.^'*'^ When the tyrant Caligula was suspected of an 
intention to invest a very extraordinary candidate with the 
consular robes, the sacrilegious profanation Avould have 
scarcely excited less astonishment, if, instead of a horse, the 
noblest chieftain of Germany or Britain had been the object 
of his choice. The revolution of three centuries had pro- 
duced so remarkable a change in the prejudices of the 
people, that, with the public approbation, Constantine showed 
his successors the exam})le of bestowing the honors of the 
consulship on the Barbarians, who, by their merit and 
services, had deserved to be ranked among the first of the 
Romans.^''^ But as these hardy veterans, who had been 

140 Malarlchus — adhibitis Francis quorum ea tempestate in palatio multitudo 
florebat, erectius jam loquebatur tumiiltuabaturque. Animiau. 1. xv. c. 5. 

1''^ Barbaros Omnium primus, ad usque fasces aiixeiat et trabeas cousulares. 
Ammiaii. 1. xx. c. 10. Eusebius (in Vit. Constautin. 1. iv. <•. 7) and Aurelius 
Victor seem to confirm tlie trutli of this assertion , yet in the thirty-two consu- 
lar Fasti of the rei/zn of Constantine, 1 cannot discover tlie name of a single Bar- 
barian. I should tlierefore interpret the liberality of that prince as relative to 
the ornaments, rather than to the oliice-, of the consulship. 



62 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

educated in the ignorance or contempt of the laws, were 
incapable of exercising any civil offices, the ])owers of the 
human mind were contracted by the irreconcilable separa- 
tion of talents as well as of professions. The accomplished 
citizens of the Greek and Roman republics, whose charac- 
ters^ could adapt themselves to the bar, the senate, the 
c imp, or the schools, had learned to write, to speak, and 
to act with the same spirit, and with equal abilities. 

IV. Besides the magistrates and generals, who at a dis- 
tance from the court diffused their delegated authority over 
tlie provinces and armies, the emperor conferred the rank of 
Illustrious on seven of his more immediate servants, to 
whose fidelity he intrusted his safety, or his counsels, or his 
treasures. 1. The private apartments of the palace were 
governed by a favorite eunuch, who, in the language of that 
age, was styled the prcepositus, or prrefect of tlie sacred bed- 
chamber. His duty was to attend the emperor in his hours 
of state, or in those of amusement, and to perform about his 
person all those menial services, which can only derive their 
splendor from the influence of royalty. Under a prince who 
deserved to reign, the great chamberlain (for such we may 
call him) was a useful and humble domestic ; but an artful 
domestic, who improves every occasion of unguarded confi- 
dence, will insensibly acquire over a feeble mind that as- 
cendant which harsh wisdom and uncomplying virtue can 
seldom obtain. The degenerate grandsons of Theodosius, 
who were invisible to their subjects, and contemptible to 
their enemies, exalted the pra3fects of their bed-chamber 
above the heads of all the ministers of the palace ; ^^"^ and 
even liis deputy, the first of the splendid train of slaves who 
w^aited in the presence, wms thought worthy to rank before 
the respectable proconsuls of Greece or Asia. The jurisdic- 
tion of the chamberlain was acknowledged by the counts^ 
or superintendents, who regulated the two important prov- 
inces of the magnificence of the wardrobe, and of the luxury 
of the Imperial table.^^^ 2. The principal administration of 
public affairs was committed to the diligence and abilities 
of the master of the offices}'^'^ He was the supreme magis- 

143 Cod. Theod. 1. vi. tit. 8. 

"^^^ By a very siiiguhir metaphor, borrowed from tlic military character of the 
first emperors, the steward of their household was styled the count of their camp 
(comes castrensis). Cassiodorus very seriously re;)resents to him, that his own 
fame, and that of the empire, must depend on the opinion whirh foreign ambassa- 
dors may conceive of the plenty and magnilicence of the royal table (Variar. 1, 
vi. epistol. 9>. 

1^* Gutherius (de Officiis Domus Augusta^, 1. ii. c. 20, 1. iii,) has very accurately 
explained the functions of the master of the offices, and the constitution of the 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 63 

trate of the palace, inspected the discipline of the civil and 
military schools^ and received appeals from all parts of the 
empire, in the causes which related to that numerous army 
of privileged persons, who, as the servants of the court, had 
obtained for themselves and families, a right to decline the 
authority of the ordinary judges. The correspondence be- 
tween the prince and his subjects was managed by the four 
scrlnia^ or ofHces of this minister of state. The first was 
appro])riated to memorials, the second to epistles, the third 
to petitions, and the fourth to papers and orders of a mis- 
cellaneous kind. Each of these was directed by an infe- 
rior master of respectable dignity, and the whole business 
was despatched by a hundred and forty-eight secretaries, 
chosen for the most part from the profession of the law, on 
account of the variety of abstracts of reports and references 
which frequently occurred in tlie exercise of their several 
functions. From a condescension, which in former ages 
would liave been esteemed unworthy of the Roman majesty, 
a particular secretary was allowed for the Greek language ; 
and interpreters were appointed to receive the ambassadors 
of the Barbarians ; but the department of foreign affairs, 
which constitutes so essential a part of modern policy, sel- 
dom diverted the attention of the master of the offices. Ilis 
mind was more seriously engaged by the general direction 
of the posts and arsenals of the empire. There were thirty- 
four cities, fifteen in the East, and nineteen in the West, in 
which regular companies of Avorkmen were perpetually em- 
ployed in fabricating defensive armor, offensive weapons of 
all sorts, and military engines, which were deposited in the 
arsenals, and occasionally delivered for the service of the 
troo])s. 3. In the course of nine centuries, the office of 
qumstor had experienced a very singular revolution. In the 
infancy of Rome, two inferior magistrates were annually 
elected by the people to relievj the consuls from the invidious 
management of the public treasure ;'*^ a similar assistant was 
granted to every proconsul and to every prsetor, who exer- 
cised a military or provincial command ; with the extent of 
conquest, the two qusestors were gradually multiplied to the 

subordinate scrinia. But he vainly attempts, on the most doubtful authority, to 
deduce from the time of the Autonines, or even of Nero, the origin of a ma;;is- 
trate who cannot be found in history before the reign of Constantine. 

i<5 Tacitus (Annul- xi. 22) says, tliat the first qufestors were elected by the peo- 
ple, sixty-four years after the foundation of the republic: but he is of opinion, 
that they had, long before that period, been annually appointe<l by tbe consuls, 
and even by the kings. But this obscure point of antiquity is contested by other 
writers. 



54 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

number of four, of eight, of twenty, and, for a short time, 
perhaps, of forty ;^'*° and the noblest citizens ambitiously 
solicited an office which gave them a seat in the senate, and 
a just hope of obtaining the honors of the republic. Whilst 
Augustus affected to maintain the freedom of election, he 
consented to accept the annual privilege of recommending, 
or rather indeed of nominating, a certain proportion of can- 
didates; and it was his custom to select one of these dis- 
tinguished youths, to read his orations or e])istles in the 
assemblies of the senate."" The practice of Augustus was 
imitated by succeeding jn'inces ; the occasional commission 
was established as a permanent office; and the favorite 
qujEStor, assuming a new and more illustrious character, 
alone survived the suppression of his ancient and useless 
colleagues."^ As the orations which he composed in the 
name of the emperor,"^ acquired the force, and, at length, 
the form, of absolute edicts, lie was considered as the repre- 
sentative of the legislative power, the oracle of the council, 
and the original source of the civil jurisprudence. He was 
sometimes invited to take his seat in the supreme judicature 
of the Imperial consistory, with the Praetorian prtefects, and 
the master of the offices ; and he Avas frequently requested 
to resolve the doubts of inferior judges ; but as he was not 
oppressed Avith a variety of subordinate business, his leisure 
and talents Avere employed to cultivate that dignified style 
of eloquence, Avhich, in the corruption of taste and language, 

145 Tacitus (Anna!, xi. 22) seems to consider twenty as the liicrhest number of 
qua?stors ; and Dion (1. xliii. p. .374) insinuates, that if tlie dictator Caesar once 
created forty, it was only to facilitate the payment of an immense debt of grati- 
tude. Yet the augmentation which he made of praetors subsisted under the suc- 
ceeding reigns. 

1^' Suetou, iu August, c. 65, and Torrent, ad loc. Dion. Cas. p. 7r)5. 

'■♦^ Tlic \ outh aiul inexperience of the quajstors, who entered on that important 
office in their twenty-liftli year (Lips. Excurs. ad Tacit. 1 iii. D.), e!i':aged 
Augustus to remove them from the management of tlie treasury; and thou-.h 
they were res ored by Claudius, they seem to have been linally dismissed by 
Keio (Tacit. Annal- xiii. 29. Sueton. in Aug. c. 36, iu Claud, c. 21. Dion pi). 
GHf), 9G1. Szc. Plin. Epistol. x. 20, et alibi). In'the provinces of the Imperial divis- 
ion, the place of the qu.-Bstors was more ably supplied bj' the prociira/ors (Dion 
Cas. p. 7("'7. Tacit, in Vit. Agricol. c. 15); or, as tliey were afterwards called, 
rafionafes (Hist. August, p. 130). But in the provinces of the senate we may 
still discover a series of quaestors till the reign of Marcus Antoninus (see the In- 
scriptions of Gruter, the Epistles of Pliny, and a decisive fact in the Augustan 
History, p. ()4). From Ulpian we may learn (Pj'.ndect. 1. i. tit. 13^, that uiuler the 
government of the house of Sever'ip, their provincial adniinistr'.tion was nbol- 
islied ; an<l in tlie subsequent troubles, the annual or triennial elections of quics- 
tors nnist have naturally ceased. 

i<5 Cum patris nomine et epistolas ipse dictaret, et edicta conscriberet, ora- 
tionesque in senatu recitaret, etiam qufcstoris vice. Sueton. iu Tit. c. 6. Tlie 
office nnist have acqidred new dicnity, which was occasionally executed by the 
heii- apparent of the empire. Trajan intrusted the same care to Hadrinn, his 
qutestor and oousin. Sea Dodwelh Prailectiou. Cambden, x. xi. i>p. 3G2-394. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 55 

still preserves the majesty of the Roman laws.^''^ In some 
respects, the office of the Imperial quaestor may be compared 
with that of a modern chancellor ; but the use of a great 
seal, which seems to have been adopted by the illiterate Bar- 
barians was never introduced to attest the public acts of 
the emperors. 4. The extraordinary title of count of the 
sacred largesses was bestowed on the treasurer-general of the 
revenue, witli the intention perhaps of inculcating, that every 
payment flowed from the voluntary bounty of the monarch. 
To conceive the almost infinite detail of the annual and daily 
expense of the civil and military administration in every 
part of a great empire, would exceed the powers of the most 
vigorous imagination. Tlie actual account employed several 
hundred persons, distributed into eleven different offices, 
which were artfully contrived to examine and control their 
respective operations. The multitude of these agents had 
a natural tendency to increase ; and it was more than once 
thought expedient to dismiss to tlieir native homes the use- 
less supernumeraries, wlio, deserting theirhonest labors, had 
pressed with too much eagerness into the lucrative profes- 
sion of the finances.-^^^ Twenty-nine provincial receivers, of 
whom eighteen were honored with the title of count, corre- 
sponded with the. treasurer ; and he extended his jurisdiction 
over the mines from whence tlie precious metals were ex- 
tracted, over the mints, in which they were converted into 
the current coin, and over tlie public treasuries of the most 
important cities, where they were deposited for the service 
of the state. The foreign trade of the empire was regulated 
by this minister, wlio directed likewise all the linen and 
woollen manufactures, in which the successive operations of 
spinning, weaving, and dyeing, were executed, cliiefly by 
women of a servile condition, for the use of the palace 
and army. Twenty-six of these institutions arc enumerated 
in the West, wliere the arts had been more recently intro- 
duced, and a still larger proportion may be allowed for the 
industrious provinces of the East.^^'^ 5. Besides the oublic 

l^ Terris e<licta datnrus ; 

Siipplicibus respoiisa, venis. — Oracula regis 
Eloquio crevere t'.io ; iiec digiiiiis iniquam 
Maiestns memiiiit sese RoTnaiia locutain. 
Claudiaii in Consulat. Mall. Theodor. 33, See likewise Symmaclius (Epistol. i. 17) 
and Cassiodorus. (\'aiiar. vi. 5.) 

ii>i Cod. Theod. 1. vi. tit. 30. Cod. Justinian. 1. xii. tit. 24. 

i-'>2 In tlie departments of the two founts of the tre;;sury, the eastern part of 
the Kntitin happens to be very defective. It niav be observed, that we liad a 
treasury chest in London, and a gyneceum or manufacture at Wiiuhester. But 
Brit;un w:is not thougJit wortliy either of a nunt or of au arsenal. Gaul aloiie 
possessed three of the formex-, and eight of the latter. 



56 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

revenue, winch an absolute monarch might levy and expend 
according to his pleasure, the emperors, in the ca})acity of 
opulent citizens, possessed a very extensive property, which 
was administered by the count or treasurer ot the p7Hvate 
estate. Some part had perhaps been the ancient demesnes 
of kings and i-epublics; some accessions might be derived 
from the families which were successfully invested with the 
purple ; but the most considerable portion flowed from the 
impure source of confiscations and forfeitures. The Imperial 
estates were scattered through the provinces, from Mauri- 
tania to Britain ; but the rich and fertile soil of Cappadocia 
tempted the monarch to acquire in that country his fairest 
possessions,^^^ and either Constantine or his successors em- 
braced the occasion of justifying avarice by religious zeal. 
They suppressed the rich temple of Comana, where the high- 
priest of the goddess of war supported the dignity of a sover- 
eign prince ; and they applied to their private use the 
consecrated lands, which were inhabited by six thousand 
subjects or slaves of the deity and her ministers.^** But 
these were not the valuable inhabitants : the plains that 
stretch from the foot of Mount Arga^us to the banks of the 
Sarus, bred a generous race of horses, renowned above all 
others in the ancient world for their majestic shape and in- 
comparable swiftness. These sacred animals, destined for 
the service of the palace and the Imperial games, were pro- 
tected by the laws from the profanation of a vulgar master.^^^ 
The demesnes of Cappadocia were important enough to re- 
quire the inspection of a count / ^^^ officers of an inferior 
rank were stationed in the other parts of the empire ; and 
the deputies of the private as well as those of the public, 
treasurer were maintained in the exercise of their independ- 
ent functions, and encouraged to control the authority of 
the provincial magistrates.^'^" 6, 7. The chosen bands of 
cavahy and infantry, which guarded the j)erson of the em- 

153 Cod. Theocl. 1. vi. tit. xxx. leg. 2, and GiKlefroy ad loc. 

^^ Strabon. Geograph. 1. xii. p. 80!t [edit. C:vs;iub.] The otli r temple of Co- 
raaiia, in Poiitus. w-ris a colony from that of Cappadocia. 1. xii. p. ^o5. The Presi- 
dent Des Brosses (see his Saluate, toni. ii. p. 21 [edit. Cusaub.]), eonjeotiires that 
the deity adored in both Conianas was Beltis, the Venus of the ea-t, the goddess 
of generation ; a very differe :t being indeed from the g(xldess of war. 

15^ Cod. Tlieod. 1. X. tit. vi. de Grege Doniijiieo. Godef roy has collected every 
circumstance of antiquity relative to the Cappadocian horses. One of the finest 
breeds, the Palniatian, was the forfeiture of a rebel, whose estate lay about six- 
teen miles from Tyaua, near the great road between Coustaiitinople and An- 
tioch. 

^^ Justinian (Novell. 301 subjected the province of the count of Cappadocia to 
the immediaie authority of the favorite eunuch, who presided over the sacred 
bed-chamber. 

1^' Cod. Theod. 1. vi. tit. xxx. les:. 4, &c. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 57 

peroT, were under the immediate command of the two counts 
of the domestics. The whole number consisted of three 
thousand five hundred men, divided into seven schools, cr 
troops, of five hundred each ; and in the East, this honorable 
service was almost entirely appropriated to the Armenians. 
Whenever, on public ceremonies, they were drawn up in 
the courts and porticos of the place, their lofty stature, si- 
lent order, and splendid arms of silver and gold, displayed a 
martial pomp not unworthy of the Roman majesty.^^^ From 
the seven schools two companies of horse and foot were 
selected, of the protectors, whose advantageous station w^as 
the hope and reward of the most deserving soldiers. They 
mounted guard in the interior apartments, and were occa- 
sionally despatched into the provinces, to execute with cel- 
erity and vigor the orders of their master.^^^ The counts of 
the domestics had succeeded to the office of the Praetorian 
pra^fects ; like the prasfects, they aspired from the service of 
the palace to the command of armies. 

The perpetual intercourse between the court and the 
provinces was facilitated by the construction of roads and 
the institution of posts. But these beneficial establishments 
were accidentally connected with a pernicious and intoler- 
able abuse. Two or three hundred cKjents or messengers 
were employed, under the jurisdiction of the master of the 
oflfices, to announce the names of the annual consuls, and 
the edicts or victories of the emperors. They insensibly as- 
sumed the license of reporting whatever they could observe 
of the conduct either of magistrates or of private citizens ; 
and were soon considered as the eyes of the monarch, ^^"^ and 
the scourge of the people. Under the Avarm influence of a 
feeble reign, they multiplied to the incredible number often 
thousand, disdained the mild though frequent admonitions 
of the laws, and exercised in the profitable management of 
the posts a rapacious and insolent oppression. These ofiScial 
spies, who regularly corresponded with the palace, Avere en- 
couraged, by favor and reward, anxiously to watch the prog- 
ress of every treasonable design, from the faint and latent 
symptoms of disaffection, to the actual pre])aration of an 
open revolt. Their careless or criminal violation of truth 

^58 Pancirohis, pp. 102, 136. The appearance of these military domestics is de- 
Bcribett in the Latin poem of Corippus, de I.audibus Justin. 1. iii. 157-179. pp.4H), 
420 of the Appendix Hist. Byzantin. Horn. 1777. 

!•''•' Ammiaiius Marcellinus, wlio served so many years, obtained only the rank 
of a protector. The tirst ten amonj.; tliese lion()ral)](! soldiers were CUirisKhni 

^^'Xenophon, Cyiopa^d. 1. viii. Jirissun, de Keyiio J'ersico, 1. i. IS'C). 190, p 264. 
The emperors adopted with pleasure this Per.-^ian metaphor. 



58 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

and justice was covered by the consecrated mask of zeal ; 
and they might securely aim their poisoned arrows at the 
breast either of the guilty or theintioeent, who had i)rovoked 
their resentment, or refused to purchase their silence. A 
faithful subject, of Syria perhaps, or of Britain, was exposed 
to the danii'er, or at least to the dread, of beuiGr drnoo;ed in 
chains to the court of Milan or Constantinople, to defend 
his life and fortune against the malicious charge of these 
privileged informers. The ordinary administration was 
conducted by those methods which extreme necessity can 
alone palliate; and the defects of evidence were diligently 
sup])lied by the use of torture. -^^^ 

The deceitful and dangerous experiment of the criminal 
qiicestion^ as it is emphatically styled, was admitted, rather 
than approved, in the jurisprudence of the Romans. They 
applied this sanguinary mode of examination only to servile 
bodies, whose sufferings were seldom weighed by those 
liaughty republicans in the scale of justice or humanity ; but 
they would never consent t) violate the sacred person of a 
citizen, till they possessed the clearest evidence of Jus 
guilt. ^^^ The annals of tyranny, from the reign of Tiberius 
to that of Domitian, circumstantially relate the executions 
of many innocent victims; but, as long as the faintest re- 
membrance was kept alive of the national freedom and 
honor, the last hours of a Roman were secure from the danger 
of ignominious torture. ^^^ The conduct of the provincial 
magistrates was not, however, regulated by the jn-actice of 
the city, or the strict maxims of the civilians. They found 
the use of torture established not only among the slaves of 
oriental despotism, but among the Macedonians, Avho obeyed 
a limited monarch ; among the Rhodians, who liourished by 
the libe: 1/ of commerce ; and even among tlie sage Athen- 
ians, who had asserted and adorned the dignity of human 
kiud.^'^'* The acquiescence of the provincials encouraged 

161 For tlie Aqentes in Rebus, see Ammian. 1. xv. c. 3, 1. xvi. c. 5, 1. xxii. c. 7, 
with the curious annotatious of Valesiu?. Cod. 'jlieotl. ]. vi. tit. xxvii. xxviii. 
xxix. Amoug the passages rollectetl in tlie ("oinnieiitary of Uodefroy, the most 
remarkable is one from Libauius, in liis discourse coiiconniig the deatli of 
Julian. 

1"- The Pandects (l.xlviii. tit. xviii.) coutaiu the sentiments of the most celobra 
ted civilians on the subject of torture- Tliey strictly routine it to slaves; and 
Ulpian himself is ready to acknowledge, that Res est frngiliSjCtpericulosa, ct quje 
veritatem fallat. 

i'5*ln the conspiracy of Piso against Nero, Epicharis (libcrtina muliei) was the 
only person tortured ; the rest were iatadl torineiif.is. It would be supertluous to 
add a weaker, and it would be difficult to Und a siroiiger, example. Tacit. Anual. 
XV. 57. 

'»* Dicendum , . , de Institutis Atheniensinm. PluKliorum, doctissimoruni 
houiinuin, apud quosetiain (id quod acerbissiiuum est) liberi, civesque torquen- 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 59 

their governors to acquire, or perhaps to usurp, a discre- 
tionary power of em})loying the rack, to extort from va- 
grants or plebeian criminals the confession of their guilt, till 
they insensibly proceeded to confound the distinctions of 
rank, and to disregard the privileges of Roman citizens. 
The apprehensions of the subjects urged them to solicit, and 
the interest of the sovereign engaged him to grant, a variety 
of special exemptions, which tacitly allowed, and even au- 
thorized, the general use of torture. They protected all 
persons of illustrious or honorable rank, bishops and their 
})resbyters, professors of the liberal arts, soldiers and their 
families, municipal officei's, and their posterity to the third 
generation, and all children under the age of ])uberty.-^'^^ But 
a fatal maxim was introduced into the new juris])rudence of 
the empire, that in the case of treason, Avhich included every 
offence that the subtlety of lawyers could derive from a 
hostile intention towards the ])rince or republic,^*^*^ all privi- 
leges were suspended, and all conditions were reduced to 
the same ignominious level. As the safety of the emperor 
was avowedly perferred to every consideration of justice or 
humanity, the dignity of age and the tenderness of youth 
were alike exposed to the most cruel tortures ; and the ter- 
rors of a malicious information, which might select them as 
the accomplices, or even as the witnesses, perhaps, of an 
imaginary crime, ])erpetually hung over the heads of the 
principal citizens of the Roman world. ^^^ 

These evils, however terrible they may appear, were con- 
fined to the smaller number of lloman subject-;, whose 
dangerous situation was in some degree comj^ensated Ijy 
the enjoyment of those advantages, either of nature or of 
fortune, which exposed them to the jealousy of the monarch. 
Tlie obscure millions of a great empire have much less to 
dread from the cruelty than from the avarice of their masters, 
and their humble happiness is principall}^ affected by the 
grievance of excessive taxes, which, gently pressing on the 

tur. Cicero, Partit. Oiat. c. 34. We may learn from the trial of Plillotas the 
practice of tlie Macedonians. (Diodor. JSicul. 1. xvii. p, ()04, Q. Curt. 1. vi. c. 
11. 

1S5 Heineccius (Element. Jur. Civil, part vii. p. 81) has collected these exemp- 
tions into one view. 

'*' This dclinition of the sage Ulpian (Pandect. 1. xlviii. tit. iv.) seems to have 
been adapted to the court of Caracalla, raihcr than to that of Alexander SeA'crus. 
See the Codes of 'Jheodosiiis and Justinian ad leg. Juiiam niajeslatis, 

i**^ Arcadius Charisius is the oldest lawyer quoted in the P;uidects to justify 
the universal prnctif-c of torture in all cases of treason ; but this maxiui of ty- 
ranny, which is admitted by Ammianus (1. xix. c. 12) with the most, respectful 
terror, is 'Enforced by several laws f)f the successors of Constantine. See Cod. 
TheoJ. 1. ix. tit. xxxv. In majestatis crimine omnibus aequa est conditio. 



60 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

wealthy, descend with accelerated weight on the meaner 
and more indigent classes of society. An ingenious pliiloso- 
pher ^^^ lias calculated the universal measure of the public 
impositions by the degrees of freedom and servitude ; and 
ventures to assert, that, according to an invariable law of 
nature, it must always increase with the former, and dimin- 
ish in a just proportion to the latter. But this reflection, 
whicli Avould tend to alleviate the miseries of despotism, is 
contradicted at least by the history of tlie Roman empire ; 
which accuses the same princes of despoiling the senate of 
its authority, and the provinces of their wealth. \Yithout 
abolishing all the various customs and duties on merchan- 
dises, which are imperce])tibly discharged by the apparent 
choice of the purchaser, the policy of Constantine and his 
successors preferred a simple and direct mode of taxation, 
more congenial to the spirit of an arbitrary government.^'^^ 

The name and use of the vndictiojis,^''^ which serve to 
ascertain the chronology of the middle ages, were derived 
from the regular practice of the Roman tributes. ^"^ The 
emperor subscribed with his own hand, and in purple ink, 
the solemn edict, or indiction, which was fixed up in the 
principal city of each diocese, during two months previous 
to the first day of September. And by a very easy connec- 
tion of ideas, the word indtctlo?i was transferred to the 
measure of tribute which it prescribed, and to the annual 
term which it allowed for the payment. This general esti- 
mate of the supplies was proportioned to the real and im- 
aginary wants of the state ; but as often as the expense 
exceeded the revenue, or the revenue fell short of the com- 

'^'^ Montesquieu, Esprit des Loix, 1. xii. c. 13. 

icj Mr Huine (Essays, vol. i. p. 389) bus seen this important truth, with some de- 
gree of perplexity. 

I'tJ The cycl^ of iudictious, which may be traced as high as the reign of Con- 
Ptanti us, or perhaps of his fatlier, Constantine, is still employed by the Papal 
court: but the t^oiiimencement of the year has been very reasonably altered to 
tlie lirst of January. Seel'Artdi Verilier les Dates, p. xi. ; iiwd Dictionnaiie 
liaison, de la Diplouialique, torn. ii. p. 25 ; two accurate treatises, which come 
from the workshoj) of the Benedictines.* 

'•i The first twenty-eight titles of the eleventh book of the Theodosian Code 
are filled with the ciicumsLantial regulations on the important subject of tributes; 
but- they .suppose a clearer knowledge of fundamental principles than it is at pre- 
sent iu our power to attain. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 61 

putation, an additional tax, under the name of supejnndtction^ 
was iin])osed on the people, and the most vahiable attribute 
of sovereignty was communicated to tlie Praetorian prae- 
fects, who, on some occasions, were permitted to ])rovide for 
the unforeseen and extraordinary exigencies of the public 
service. Tlie execution of these laws (which it would be 
tedious to pursue in their minute and intricate detail) con- 
sisted of two distinct operations ; the resolving the general 
imposition into its constituent parts, which were assessed 
on the provinces, the cities, and the individuals of the Ro- 
man world ; and the collecting the separate contributions 
of the individuals, the cities, and the provinces, till the ac- 
cumulated sums were poured into the Imperial treasuries. 
But as the account between the monarch and the subject 
Avas perpetually open, and as the renewal of the demand 
anticipated the j^erfect discharge of the preceding obliga- 
tion, the weighty machine of the finances was moved by 
the same hands round the circle of its yearly revolution. 
Whatever was honorable or important in the administra- 
tion of the revenue, was committed to the Avisdom of the 
pnefects, and their provincial representatives; the lucrative 
functions were claimed by a crowd of subordinate officers, 
some of whom depended on the treasurer, others on the 
governor of the province ; and who, in the inevitable con- 
liicts of a perplexed jurisdiction, had frequent opportunities 
of disputing with each other the spoils or the people. The 
laborious offices, which could be productive only of envy 
and reproach, of expense and danger, were imposed on the 
Decurions^ who formed the corporations of the cities, and 
whom the severity of the Imperial laws had condemned to 
sustain the burdens of civil society .^^'^ The whole landed 

i"2 The title concerning tiie Decurions (I. xii. tit. i.) is the most ample in the 
whole Theodosian Code ; since it contains not lesstlian one liundred and ninety- 
two distinct laws to ascertain the duties and privileges of that useful order of 
citizens.* 



* The Decurions were charged with assessing, accoixliiig to the census of prop- 
erty prepared by the tabularii, the payment due from each proprietor. This 
odious oltice was authoritatively imposed on the richest citizens of each town ; 
tliey had no salary, and all their compensation was, to be excimpt from certain 
corporal punishments, in case they should liave incurred them. The Uecurioiiate 
was the ruin of all the rich. Hence they tried every way ot avoiding this danger- 
ous honor ; they concealed themselves, they entered into miliLary service; but 
tlieir efforts were unavailing ; they were seized, they were ( om[)elled to become 
)ecurions, and the dread ins|iired by this title was termed Impieti/. — G. 

The Decurions were mutually responsible ; they were obliged to undertake for 
iieces of ground abandoned by tlieir owners on account of the pressure of the 
iaxes, and, liually, to make up all delicieiicies. Savigny, Geschichte des Horn, 
liochts. i. 25.— M. 



62 THE DECLIXE AND FALL 

property of tlie empire (witliout excepting the patrimonial 
estates of the monarch) was the object of ordinary taxation ; 
and every new ])urchaser contracted tlie obligations of the 
former pr()})rietor. An accurate census^^'^ or survey, was 
the only equitable mode of ascei-taining tlie ])rop()rtion 
Avhich every citizen sliould be obliged to contribute for tlie 
public service ; and from the well-known jjeriod of the in- 
dictions, there is reason to believe that this difficult and ex- 
pensive operation was repeated at the regular distance of 
fifteen years. The lands Avere measured by surveyors, who 
were sent into the provinces ; their nature, whether arable 
or pasture, or vineyards or woods, was distinctly reported ; 
and an estimate Avas made of their common value from the 
average produce of five years. The numbers of slaves and 
of cattle constituted an essential part of the report ; an oath 
was administered to the proprietors, which bound them to 
disclose the true state of their affairs; and their attempts, 
to prevaricate, or elude tlie intention of the legislator, were 
severely watched, and punished as a capital crime, which 
included the double iiuilt of treason and sacrileixe.^"'* A 
large portion of the tribute was paid in money ; and of the 
current coin of the empire, gold alone could be legally ac- 
cepted."^ The remainder of the taxes, according to the 
proportions determined by the annual indiction, was fur- 
nished in a manner still more direct, and still more oppres- 
sive. According to the different nature of lands, their real 
produce in the various articles of wine or oil, corn or bar- 
ley, wood or iron, was transported by the labor or at the 
expense of the provincials * to the Imperial magazines, 

i'3 Habernus eiiim et liomiiium numerum qui delati sunt, et agrura niodum. 
Eumenius iu Paiiegyr. Vet. viii. 6- See Cod. Tlieod. L xiii. tit. x. xi., with (Jode- 
froy's Coniinentaiy. 

1'^ Siquis saciilega vitem falce succiderit, aut feraoium rainonini foetus hebe- 
taverit, quodeclinet tideni Censuum, et meiitiatiir callide paupenatis Ingenium, 
mux delectus capitale subibit exitiiiin, et bona ejus in Fisci jura ntigiabunt. Cod. 
Theod. 1. xiii. tic. xi. leg. 1, Although this law is not without its studied obscur- 
ity, it is, however, clear enough to prove the minuteness of tlie inquisition, and 
the disproportion of the penalty. 

^'•■' The astonishment of Pliny would have ceased. Equidem miror P. K. victis 
gentibus argentum jjemxier imperitai^se non aurum. Hist. Is'atur. xxxiii. 15. 



* The proprietors were not charged with the expense of this transport ; in the 
provinces silualed on the sea-shore or near ihe great rivers, there were companies 
of boatmen, and of masters of ve.-sels, who had this couimission, and furnished 
the means of transport at their own exi>ense. In relurii, thevi we;e themselves 
exempt altogether, or in part, from the indiction and o lier imposts. They Lad 
certain privileges ; particular regulations determined thei.- rights and obligations. 
(Cod. Theod. 1. xiii. tit. v. ix). The transports by laud were made in the same 
manner, by the intervention of a privileged coni[)aay called Bastaga ; the mem- 
bers were called Bastagarii. Cod. Theod. 1. viii. tit. v.— G. 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIKE. 63 

from whence they were occasionally distributed, for the use 
of the court, of the army, and of the two capitals, Rome 
and Constantinople. Tlie commissioners of the revenue 
were so frequently obliged to make considerable purchases, 
that they were strictly prohibited from allowing any com- 
pensation, or from receiving in money the value of those 
supplies which were exacted in kind. In the primitive sim- 
])licity of small communities, this method may be Avell 
adapted to collect the almost voluntary offerings of the 
people ; but it is at once susceptible of the utmost latitude, 
and of the utmost strictness, which in a corrupt and abso- 
lute monarchy must introduce a perpetual contest between 
the power of oppression and the arts of fraud. ^^'^ The agri- 
culture of the Roman provinces was insensibly ruined, and, 
in the progress of despotism, which tends to disappoint its 
ow^n purpose, the emperors were obliged to derive some 
merit from the forgiveness of debts, or the remission of 
tributes, which their subjects were utterly incapable of pay- 
ing. According to the new^ division of Italy, the fertile 
and hap])y province of Campania, the scene of the early vic- 
tories and of the delicious retirements of the citizens of 
Rome, extended between the sea and the Apennine from 
the Tiber to the Sllarus. Within sixty years after the 
death of Constantine, and on the evidence of an actual sur- 
vey, an exemption was granted in favor of three hundred 
and thirty thousand English acres of desert and unculti- 
vated land ; which amounted to one eighth of the whole 
surface of the province. As the footsteps of the Barbarians 
had not yet been seen in Italy, the cause of this amazing 
desolation, which is recorded in the laws, can be ascribed 
only to the administration of the Roman emperors.^" 

Either from design or from accident, the mode of assess- 
ment seemed to unite the substance of a land tax Avith the 
forms of a capitation. '^^^ The returns which w^ere sent of 

17C Some precautions were taken (see Cod. Tlieod. 1. xi. tit. ii. a d Cod. Justii- 
ian. 1 X. tit. xxvii. leg. 1, 2, 3) to restrain the nia'^istratcs Iroiu liie abuse of tht;ir 
authority, either in the exaction or ill the puieliase of corn: but tliose wlio iiad 
lea. iiing enougli to read ilie cations of Cicero against Verres (iii. de Fruniento), 
mi^lic instruct themselves iji all the vaiious arts of oppression, with regard to the 
weight, the price, the quality, and ihe carriage. The avaricte of an unlettered 
governor would supply the ignorance of precept or precedent. 

1" Cod. Tlieod. 1. xi. tit. xxviii. leg. 2, published the 24th of March, A. D. 305, 
by the emperor Honorius, only two mouths after the death of his father, Theodo- 
sius. He speaks of 528,042 Roman Jugera, which I have reduced to the English 
measure. The jugerum contained 28,80!) sciuare Koman feet. 

'^^ Godefroy (Cod. Theod. torn. vi. p. HCi) argues with weight and learning on 
the subject of the capitation; but while he explains thec«7>?t/,asashaieorraeasurQ 
of property, he too absolutely excludes the idea of a personal assessment. 



64 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

every province or district, expressed the number of trib- 
utary subjects, and tlie amount of the ])ublic im])ositions. 
The latter of these sums was divided by the former;^ and 
tlie estimate, that such a province contained so many capita^ 
or heads of tribute ; and tliat each Jiead was rated at sucli a 
price, was universally received, not only in the popular, but 
even in the legal computation. The value of a tributary 
head must have varied, according to many accidental, or at 
least fluctuatino; circumstances : but some knowled^re has 
been preserved of a very curious fact, the more important, 
since it relates to one of the richest provinces of the Roman 
empire, and which now flourishes as the most splendid of the 
Eurojjean kingdoms. The rapacious ministers of Constantius 
had exhausted the w^ealth of Gaul, by exacting twenty-five 
pieces of gold for the annual tribute of every head. The hu- 
mane policy of his successor reduced the capitation to seven 
pieces.^"® A moderate proportion between these opposite 
extremes of extraordinary oppression and of transient indul- 
gence, may therefore be fixed at sixteen pieces of gold, or 
about nine pounds sterling, the common standard, perhaps, 
of the impositions of Gaul.^^^ But this calculation, or rather 
indeed the facts from whence it is deduced, cannot fail of 
suggesting two difficulties to a thinking mind, who will be 
at once surprised by the equality^ and by the enormity^ of 
the capitation. An attempt to explain them may perhaps 
reflect some light on the interesting subject of the finances 
of the declining empire. 

I. It is obvious, that, as long as tjje immutable constitu- 
tion of human nature produces and maintains so unequal a 

i'^9 Quid prof uerit (Jit^iawMs) anhelantibus extrema penuria Gallis, hinc max- 
ime claret, quod piiinitus partes eas ingretisus, pro capitibus singulis iributi nom- 
ine viceiios quiiios aureus reperit rlagitari ; discedeiis vero septenos tantuiu 
uumera universa compleutes. Amuiian. 1. xvi, c. 5. 

1**^ In tlie calculutiou of auj"^ sum of money under Constantine and his suc- 
cessors, we need only refer to the excellent discourse of Mr. Greaves on the Den- 
arius, for the proof of the following principles : 1. That the ancient and modern 
Roman pound, containing 5250 grains of Troy weight, is about one-twelfth lighter 
than the English pound, which is composed of 5760 of the same grains. 2. That 
the pound or gold, which had once been divided into forty-eight a/»T/, was at this 
time coiTied into seventy-two smaller pieces of the s.ime denomination. 3. That 
five of these aiiiei were the legal tender for a pound of silver, and that conse- 
quently the pound of gold wa^ exchanged for fourteen pounds eight ounce-; of sil- 
ver, according to the Roman, or about thirteen pounds according to the English 
weight. 4. Tliat the English pound of silver is coined into sixty-two shillings. 
From these elements we may compute the Roman pound of gold, the usual method 
of reckoning large sums, at forty pounds sterling, and we may fix the currency of 
the aureus at somewhat more than eleven shillings.* 



* See, likewise, a Dissertation of M, Let'onne, "Considerations G^n^rales sur 
i'Evaiuation des Monnaies Grecques et Romaines. Paris, 1817.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIEE. 65 

division of property, the most numerous part of the com- 
munity would be deprived of their subsistence, by the equal 
assessment of a tax from which the sovereign would derive 
a very trifling revenue. Such indeed might be the theory 
of the Roman capitation ; but, in the practice, this unjust 
equality w^as no longer felt, as the tribute was collected on 
the principle of a real^ not of ?i personal imposition.* Sev- 
eral indigent citizens contributed to compose a single head^ 
or share of taxation ; while the wealthy provincial, in pro- 
portion to his fortune, alone represented several of those 
imaginary beings. In a poetical request, addressed to one 
of the last and most deserving of the Roman princes who 
reigned in Gaul, Sidonius Apollinaris personifies his tribute 
under the figure of a triple monster, the Geryon of the Gre- 
cian fables, and entreats the new Hercules that he would 
most graciously be pleased to save his life by cutting off 
three of his heads.-^^^ The fortune of Sidonius far exceeded 
the customary wealth of a poet ; but if he had pursued the 
allusion, he must have painted many of the Gallic nobles 
with the hundred heads of the deadly Hydra, spreading 
over the face of the country, and devouring the substance 
of a hundred families. II. The difficulty of allowing an 
annual sum of about nine pounds sterling, even for the av- 
erage of the capitation of Gaul, may be rendered more evi- 
dent by the comparison of the present state of the same 
country, as it is now governed by the absolute monarch of 

Geryones nos esse puta, monstrumque tributum, 
Hic capita ut vivam, tu milii tolle tiia. 

Sidoii. Ap^Uinar. Carm. xiii. 

The reputation of Father Sirmond led ine to expect more satisfaction than I 
have found in his note (p. 141) on this remarkable passage. The words, suo vol 
suorum nomine, betray the perplexity of the commentator. 



* Two masterly dissertations of M. Savigny, in the Mem. of the Berlin Acad- 
emy (1822 and 1823) have thrown new light on the taxation system of the Empire. 
Gibbon, according to M. Savigny, is mistaken in supposing that there was but one 
kind of capitation tax ; there was a land tax, and a capitation tax, strictly so 
called. The land tax was, in its operation, a propiietor's or landlord's tax. But, 
besides this, there was a direct capitatiou tax on all who were not possessed of 
landed property. This tax dates from the time of the lioman conquests ; its 
aniouni is not clearly known. Gradual exemptions released dillereiit peisons 
and classes from this tax. One edict exempts painters. In Syria, all under 
twelve or fourteen, or above sixty-five, were exempted ; at a later period, all 
under twenty, and all unmarried females ; still later, all under twenty -five, widows 
and nuns, soldiers, veterani and clerici— whole dioceses, that of Thrace and lUy- 
ricum. Under Galerius and Licinius. the plebsurbana becani ; exempt ; though 
this, perhaps, was only an ordinance for the Jlast. By decrees, however, the ex- 
emption was extended to all the inhabitants of towns ; and as it. was strictly capi- 
tatio pleb'jia, from which all possessors were exemp1e<l. it fell at length altogether 
on the coloni and agricultural slaves. These were registered in the same cataster 
(capitastrum) with the land tax. It was paid by the proprietor, who raised it 
again from his coloni and laborers. — M. 

Vol. II.— 5 



66 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

an industrious, wealthy, and affectionate people. The taxes 
of France cannot be magnified, either by fear or by flattery, 
beyond the annual amount of eighteen millions sterling, 
which ought perhaps to be shared among foui- md-twenty 
millions of inhabitants.^^^ Seven millions of these, in the 
capacity of fathers, or brothers, or husbands, may discharge 
the oblio^ations of the remaininGi: multitude of women and 
children ; yet the equal proportion of each tributary sub- 
ject will scarcely rise above fifty shillings of our money, in- 
stead of a proportion almost four times as considerable, 
which was regularly imposed on their Gallic ancestors. 
The reason of this difference may be found, not so much in 
the relative scarcity or plenty of gold and silver, as in the 
different state of society, in ancient Gaul and in modern 
France. In a countiy where personal freedom is the priv- 
ilege of every subject, the whole mass of taxes, whether they 
are levied on property or on consumption, may be fairly 
divided among the whole body of the nation. But the far 
greater part of the lands of ancient Gaul, as well as of the 
other provinces of the Roman world, Avere cultivated by 
slaves, or by peasants, whose dependent condition was a 
less rigid servitude.^^^ In sucli a state the poor were main- 
tained at the expense of the masters who enjoyed the fruits 
of their labor ; and as the rolls of tribute were filled only 
with the names of those citizens who possessed the means 
of an honorable, or at least of a decent subsistence, the 
comparative smallness of their numbers explains and justi- 
fies the high rate of their capitation. TJie truth of this as- 
sertion may be illustrated by the following example : The 

1^2 This assertion, however formidaWe it may seem, is founded on the original 
registers of births, deaths, and marriages, collected by public authority, and now 
deposited in the Confrolee General at Paris. The annual average of births through- 
out the whole kingdom, taken in five years (from 1770 to 1774, both inclusive), is 
479,619 boys, and 449,269 girls, in all 928,918 children. The province of French 
Hainault alone furnishes 990G births ; and we are assured, by an actual enumer- 
ation of the people, annually repeated from the year 1773 to the year 1776, that 
upon an average, Hainault contains 2.57,097 inhabitants. By the rules of fair an- 
alogy, we might infer, that the ordinary proportion of annual births to the whole 
people, is about 1 to 26 ; and that the kingdom of France contains 24,151 .WiK per- 
sons of both sexes and of eveiy age. If we content ourselves with the more 
moderate proportion of 1 to 25, the whole population will amount to 2o,222,)i50. 
From the diligent researches of the French Government (which are not unworthy 
of our own imitation), we may hope to obtain a still greater degree of certainty on 
this important subject.* 

183 Cod. Theod. 1. v. tit. ix. x. xi. Cod. Justinian. 1. xi. tit. xiii. Colonl appel- 
lantur qui conditionem dobent genitali solo, propter agriculturum sub dominio 
possessorum. Augustin. de Civitate Dei, 1. x. c. i. 



* On no subject has so much valuable information been collected since the 
time of Gibbon, as the statistics of the different countries of Europe, but much is 
still wanting as to our own.— M. 



I 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 67 

^dui, one of the most powerful and civilized tribes or cities 
of Gaul, occupied an extent of territory, which now con- 
tains about five hundred thousand inhabitants, in the two 
ecclesiastical dioceses of Autun and Nevers ; ^^^ and with 
the probable accession of those of Chalons and Ma9on,^^^ 
the population Avould amount to eight hundred thousand 
souls. In the time of Constantine, the territory of the 
^dui afforded no more than twenty-five thousand heads of 
capitation, of whom seven thousand were discharged by 
that prince from the intolerable weight of tribute.^^*^ A 
just analogy would seem to countenance the opinion of an 
ingenious historian,^*^^ that the free and tributary citizens 
did not surpass the number of half a million ; and if, in the 
ordinary administration of government, their annual pay- 
ments may be computed at about four millions and a half of 
our money, it would appear, that although the share of 
each individual was four times as considerable, a fourth 
part only of the modern taxes of France was levied on the 
Imperial province of Gaul. The exactions of Constantius 
may be calculated at seven millions sterling, which were 
reduced to two millions by the humanity or the wisdom of 
Julian. 

But this tax, or capitation, on the proprietors of land, would 
have suffered a rich and numerous class of free citizens to 
escape. With the view of sharing that species of wealth 
which is derived from art or labor, and which exists in money 

184 The ancient jurisdiction of {Augnstodunum) Aniwn in Burgundy, the capital 
of the iEdui, coniprihende<l tlie adjacent territory of {Noviotiunum) Nevers. See 
l>'Anvilie, Notice de I'Ancienne (jiaule, p. 491. The two dioceses of Autun and 
Nevers are now composed, tlie former of 010, and the latter of IGO parishes. The 
registers of births, taken during eleven years, in 47G parishes of the same pro- 
vince of Burgundy, and multiplied by the moderate proportion of 25 (see Mes- 
sance Keclierches surla Population, p. 142), may authorize us to assign an average 
number of 65tj persons for each paiish, which being again multiplied by the 770 
parishes of the dioceses of Nevers and Autun, will produce the sum of 505,120 
persons for the extent of country which was once possessed by the iEdui. 

ISO We mij'ht derive an additional supply of 301,750 inhabitants from the dio- 
ceses of Chalons (CabiUonum) and of Ma9on (Matlsco), since they contain, the 
one 200, and the other 260 parishes. This accession of territory might be justitied 
by very specious reasons. 1. Chalons and Ma9on were undoubtedly within the 
original jurisdiction of the JEdui. (See D'Anville, Notice, p. 187, 443). 2. In the 
Notitia of Gaul, they are enumerated not as Civifa'es, but merely as Castra. 3. 
They do not appear to have been episcopal seats before the fifth ar)d sixth centur- 
ies.- Yet there is a passage in Eumenius (Panegyr. Vet. viii.7) which very forcibly 
deters me from extending the territory of the iEdui, in the reign of Constantine, 
along the beautiful banks of the navigable Saone.* 

1^ Kuraenius in Panegj'r. Vet. viii. 11. 

187 L'Abbe du Bos, Hist. Critique de la M. F. torn. i. p. 121. 



* III this passage of Eumenius, Savigny supposes the original number to have 
been .32,000 : 7000 being discharged, there remained 25,000 liable to the tribute. 
See Mem. quoted above.— M. 



68 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

or in merchandise, the emperors imposed a distinct and per- 
sonal tribute on the trading part of their subjects. ^^^ Some 
exemptions, very strictly confined botli in time and place, 
were allowed to the proprietors who disposed of the produce 
of their own estates. Some indulgence was granted to tlie 
profession of the liberal arts; but every other branch of com- 
mercial industry was affected by the severity of the law. 
The honorable merchant of Alexandria, who imported the 
s^'ems and spices of India for the use of the western world ; 
the usurer, who derived from the interest of money a silent 
and ignominious profit ; the ingenious manufacturer, the dili- 
gent mechanic, and even the most obscure retailer of a seques- 
tered village, were obliged to admit the officers of the revenue 
into the partnership of their gain ; and the sovereign of the 
Roman empire, who tolerated the profession, consented to 
share the infamous salary of public prostitutes.* As this 
general tax upon industry was collected every fourth year, 
it was styled the Lustral Contribution : and the historian 
Zosimus^**^ laments that the approach of the fatal period was 
announced by the tears and terrors of the citizens, who were 
often compelled by the impending scourge to embrace the 
most abhorred and unnatural methods of procuring the sum 
at which their poverty had been assessed. The testimony 
of Zosimus cannot indeed be justified from the charge of 
passion and prejudice; but from the nature of this tribute, 
it seems reasonable to conclude that it was arbitrary in tiie 
distribution, and extremely rigorous in the mode of collect- 
ing. The secret wealth of commerce, and the precarious 
profits of art or labor, are susceptible only of a discretionary 
valuation, which is seldom disadvantageous to the interest of 
the treasury ; and as the person of the trader supplies the want 
of a visible and permanent security, the payment of the im- 
position, which, in the case of a land tax, may be obtained 
by the seizure of property, can rarely be extorted by any 
other means than those of corporal ijunishments. The'cruel 

i-'8 See Cod. Theod. 1- xiii, tit. i. and iv. 

1^9 Zosiiims, 1. ii. p. 115. There i^> probably as much passion and prejudice in 
the attack of Zosiuius, as in the elaborate defence of the niemory of Coiistantine 
by the zealous Dr. Howell. Hist, of the World, vol. ii. p. 20. 



* The eroperor Theodosius put an end, by a law, to this disgraceful source of 
evenue. ((iodef. ad Cod. Theod. xiii. tit. i. c. 1). But before he dej)rivcu him- 
self of it, he made sure of some way of i-eplacing this deficit. A rich patrician, 
Florentius, indignant at this legaliz'ed licentiousness, had made represeniaiions 
on the subject to the empei'or. "To induce him to tolerate it no longer, he offered 
his own property to snpply the dimiuutioii of the revenue. The emperor had the 
baseness to accept his oiler.— G. 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 69 

treatment of the insolvent debtors of the state, is attested, and 
was perhaps mitigated by a very humane edict of Constan- 
tine, who, disclaiming the use of racks and of scourges, allots 
a spacious and airy prison for the place of their confine- 
men t.^^*^ 

These general taxes were imposed rtnd levied by the ab- 
solute authoi'ity of the monarch ; but the occasional offerings 
of the coronary gold still retained the name and semblance 
of popular consent. It was an ancient custom that the allies 
of the republic, who ascribed their safety or deliverance to 
the success of the Roman arms, and even the cities of Italy, 
who admired the virtues of their victorious general, adorned 
the pomp of his triumph by their voluntary gifts of crowns 
of gold, which after the ceremony were consecrated in the 
temple of Jupiter, to remain a lasting monument of his glory 
to future ages. The progress of zeal and flattery soon mul- 
tiplied the number, and increased the size, of these popular 
donations; and the triumph of Caesar was enriched with two 
thousand eight hundred and twenty-two massy crowns, whose 
weight amounted to twenty thousand four hundred and four- 
teen pounds of gold. This treasure was immediately melted 
down by the prudent dictator, who was satisfied that it would 

be more serviceable to his soldiers than to the ixods : his exam- 

1 • • • 

pie was imitated by his successors ; and the custom was in- 

trod uced of exchanging these splendid ornaments for the more 
acceptable present of the current gold coin of the empire.^^^ 
The spontaneous offering was at length exacted as the debt 
of duty ; and instead of being confined to the occasion of a 
triumph, it was supposed to be granted by the several cities 
and provinces of the monarchy, as often as the emperor con- 
descended to announce his accession, liis consulship, the birth 
of a son, the creation of a Caesar, a victory over the Barbarians, 
or any other real or imaginary event which graced the annals 
of his reign. Tlie peculiar free gift of the senate of Rome 
was fixed by custom at sixteen hundred pounds of gold, or 
about sixty-four thousand pounds sterling. The oppressed 
subjects celebrated their own felicity, that their sovereign 

15" Cod. Tlieod, 1. xi. tit. vii. leg. 3. 

11 See Lipsins de Mag]iitud. Komaiia, 1. li. c. 9. The Tarragonese Spain pre- 
sented the emperor Claudius with a crown of goM of seven, and Gaul with an- 
other of nine, Imndrisd pounds weight. I have followed the rational emendation 
of liipsius.* 



* This custom is of still earlier date ; the Romans liad ho'rov/ed it from 
Greece. Who is not acquainted witli the famous oration of Deniosdienes for the 
golden crown, which his citizens wished to bestow, and -ZEschines to deprive him 
of?-G. 



70 THE DECLINE AND FALL 



Bhonld graciously consent to accept this feeble but voluntary 
testimony of their loyalty and gratitude.^^^ 

A people elated by pride, or soured by discontent, are 
seldom qualified to form a just estimate of their actual situ- 
ation. The subjects of Constantine were incapable of dis- 
cerning the decline of genius and manly virtue, which so 
far degraded them below the dignity of their ancestors ; but 
they could feel and lament the rage of tyranny, the relaxa- 
tion of discipline, and the increase of taxes. The impartial 
historian, who acknowledges the justice of their complaints, 
will observe some favorable circumstances which tended to 
alleviate the misery of their condition. The threatening 
tempest of Barbarians, which so soon subverted the founda- 
tions of Roman greatness, was still repelled, or suspended, 
on the frontiers. The arts of luxury and literature were 
cultivated, and the elegant pleasures of society w-ere enjoyed 
by the inhabitants of a considerable portion of the globe. 
The forms, the pomp, and the expense of the civil adminis- 
tration contributed to restrain the irregular license of the 
soldiers ; and although the laws were violated by power, or 
perverted by subtlety, the sage principles of the Roman juris- 
prudence preserved a sense of order and equity, unknown to 
the despotic governments of the East. The rights of man- 
kind might derive some protection from religion and phil- 
osophy ; and the name of freedom, which could no longer 
alarm, might sometimes admonish, the successors of Augus- 
tus that they did not reign over a nation of Slaves or Bar- 
barians.^^^ 

192 Cod Tlieod. 1. xii. tit. xiii. The senators were supposed to be exempt from 
the Aurum Coronarium ; but the Auri Oblatio, which was required at their hands, 
was precisely of the same nature. 

193 The great Theodosius, in his judicious advice to his son (Claudian in iv. 
Consulat. Honorii. 214, &c.), distinguishes the station -of a Koman prince from 
that of a Parthian monarch. Virtue was necessary for the one ; birth might 
gufiice for the other. 



OF THE EOMAN" EMPIRE. 71 



CHAPTER XVIIl. 

CHARACTER OF CO^^STANTI:^fE. GOTHIC WAR. DEATH OP 

COXSTANTINE. DIVISION^ OF THE EMPIRE AMONG HIS 

THREE SOXS. PERSIAN WAR. TRAGIC DEATHS OF CON- 

STANTINE THE YOUNGER AND CONSTANS. USURPATION 

OF MAGNENTIUS. — CIVIL WAR. — VICTORY OF CONSTANTIUS. 

The character of the prince who removed the seat of 
empire, and introduced such important changes into the 
civil and religious constitution of his country, has fixed the 
attention, and divided the opinions, of mankind. By the 
grateful zeal of the Christians, the deliverer of the church 
has been decorated with every attribute of a hero, and even 
of a saint; w^hile the discontent of the vanquished party has 
compared Constantine to the most abhorred of those tyrants, 
who, by their vice and w^eakness, dishonored the Imperial 
purple. The same passions have in some degree been per- 
petuated to succeeding generations, and the character of 
Constantine is considered, even in the present age, as an 
object either of satire or of panegyric. By the impartial 
union of those defects which are confessed by his warmest 
admirers, and of those virtues which are acknowledged by 
his most implacable enemies, we might hope to delineate 
a just portrait of that extraordinary man, which the truth 
and candor of history should adopt without a blush.^ But 
it would soon appear, that the vain attempt to blend such 
discordant colors, and to reconcile such inconsistent qualities, 
must produce a figure monstrous rather than human, unless 
it is viewed in its proper and distinct lights, by a careful 
separation of the different periods of the reign of Constantine. 

The person, as well as the mind, of Constantine, had 
been enriched by nature with her choicest endowments. His 
stature was lofty, his countenance majestic, his deportment 
graceful, his strength and activity were displayed in every 

' On ne se trompera point ^ur Conslantin, en croyanttout le malqu'en dit Eu- 
sebe, et tout le bien qu'endit Zosime. Fleury,Hist. Ecclesiastique, torn. iii. p. 233. 
Euf^ebius aiul Zosimus form indeed the two extremes of flattery and invective. 
The intermediate shades are expressed by those writers, whose character or situ- 
ation variously tempered the influence of their religious zeal. 



72 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

manly exercise, and from his earliest youth, to a very advanced 
season of life, he preserved the vigor of his constitution by a 
strict adherence to the domestic virtues of chastity and tem- 
perance. Pie delighted in the social intercourse of familiar 
conversation ; and thouo:h he mio;:ht sometimes indulge his 
disposition to raillery with less reserve than was required by 
the severe dignity of his station, the courtesy and liberality 
of his manners gained the hearts of all who approached him. 
The sincerity of his friendship has been suspected ; yet he 
showed, on some occasions, that he was not incapable of 
a Avarm and lastinoj attachment. The disadvantasje of au 
illiterate education had not prevented him from forming 
a just estimate of the value of learning; and the arts 
and sciences derived some encouragement from the mu- 
nificent protection of Constantine. In the despatch of 
business, his diligence was indefatigable ; and the active 
powers of his mind were almost continually exercised m 
reading, writing, or meditating, in giving audience to ambas- 
sadors, and in examining the complaints of his subjects. 
Even those who censured the propriety of his measures were 
compelled to acknowledge, that he possessed magnanimity 
to conceive, and patience to execute, the most arduous de- 
signs, without being checked either by the prejudices of edu- 
cation, or by the clamors of the multitude. In the field, he 
infused his own intrepid spirit into the troops, whom he con- 
ducted with the talents of a consummate general ; and to his 
abilities, rather than to his fortune, we may ascribe the signal 
victories which he obtained over the foreign and domestic 
foes of the republic. He loved glory as the reward, perhaps 
as the motive, of his labors. The boundless ambition, which, 
from the moment of his accepting the purple at York, appears 
as the ruling passion of his soul, may be justified by the dan- 
gers of his own situation, by the character of his rivals, by 
the consciousness of superior merit, and by the prospect that 
his success would enable him to restore peace and order to 
the distracted empire. In his civil wars against Maxentius 
and Licinius, he had ens^ao^ed on his side the inclinations of 
the people, who compared the undissembled vices of those 
tyrants with the spirit of wisdom and justice which seemed 
to direct the general tenor of the administration of Constan- 
tine.^ 

2 The virtues of Constantine are collected for the most part from Eutropjus 
and the younger Victor, two sincere pagans, who wrote after the extinction of his 
family. Even Zosimus, and the Emperor Julian, acknowledged his personal 
courage and military achievements. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 73 

Had Constantine fallen on the banks of the Tiber, or 
even in the j)lains of Hadrianople, such is the character 
which, Avith a few exceptions, he might have transmitted to 
posterity. But the conclusion of his reign (according to the 
moderate and indeed tender sentence of a writer of the same 
age) degraded him from the rank which he had acquired 
among the most deserving of the Roman princes.^ In the 
life of Augustus, we behold the tyrant of the republic, con- 
verted, almost by imperceptible degrees, into the father of 
his country, and of human kind. In that of Constantine, 
we may contemplate a hero, who had so long inspired his 
subjects with love, and his enemies with terror, degenerat- 
ing into a cruel and dissolute monarch, corrupted by his 
fortune, or raised by conquest above the necessity of dis- 
simulation. The general peace which he maintained during 
the last fourteen years of his reign, was a period of apparent 
splendor rather than of real prosperity; and the old age of 
Constantine was disgraced by the opposite yet reconcilable 
vices of rapaciousness and prodigality. The accumulated 
treasures found in the palaces of Maxentius and Licinius, 
were lavishly consumed ; the various innovations introduced 
by the conqueror, were attended with an increasing expense ; 
the cost of his buildings, his court, and his festivals, required 
an immediate and plentiful supply ; and the oppression of 
the people Avas the only fund which could support the 
magnificence of the sovereign.^ His unworthy favorites, 
enriched by the boundless liberality of their master, usurped 
with impunity the privilege of rapine and corruption.^ A 
secret but universal decay was felt in every part of the 
public administration, and the emperor himself, though he 
still retained the obedience, gradually lost the esteem, of his 
subjects. The dress and manners, which, towards the 
decline of life, he chose to affect, served only to degrade 

3 9te Eutropius, x. 6. In primo Imperii tempore optimis priricipibTis, ultimo 
mediis coinpaiaiidus. From the nncieut Greek version of Pcuanius (edit. Haver- 
canip. p. 697), 1 am inclined to suspect that Eutropius had originally written vix 
m(3diis ; and that the offensive monosyllable was dropped by the wilful inad- 
vertency of transcribers. Aurelius Victor expresses the general opinion by a 
vulgar and indeed obscure proverb. Trachala decern annis praestantissimus ; 
d lodecim sequeuiibus latro ; decern novissimis pvpUlus ob imniodicas profus- 
iones. 

* .Julian, Orat. i. p. 8, in a flattering discourse pronounced before the son of 
Constantine; and Caisares, p. 33"). Zosimus, p. 114,115. The stately buildings of 
Constantinople, &c., may be quoted as a lasting and unexceptionable proof of the 
profuseness of their foun<ler. 

^ The impartial Ammianus deserves all our confidence. Proximornm fauces 
aperuit primus omnium Constantinus. L. xvi. o. 8. Eusebius himself conf< -^ses 
the abuse (Vit. Constantin. 1. iv. c. 29, 54) ; and some of the Imperial laws feebly 
point out the remedy. See above, p. 42 of this volume. 



74 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

him in the eyes of mankind. The Asiatic pomp, which liad 
been adopted by the pride of Diocletian, assumed an air of 
softness and effeminacy in the person of Constantine. He 
is represented with false hair of various colors, laboriously 
arranged by the skilful artists of the times ; a diadem of a 
new and more expensive fashion ; a profusion of gems and 
pearls, of collars and bracelets, and a variegated flowing 
robe of silk, most curiously embroidered with flowers of 
gold. In such apparel, scarcely to be excused by the youth 
and folly of Elagabulus, we are at a loss to discover the 
wisdom of an aged monarch, and the simplicity of a Roman 
veteran.® A mind thus relaxed by prosperity and indul- 
gence was incapable of rising to that magnanimity which 
disdains suspicion, and dares to forgive. The deaths of 
Maximian and Licinius may perhaps be justified by the 
maxims of policy, as they are taught in the schools of 
tyrants ; but an impartial narrative of the executions, or 
rather murders, which sullied the declining age of Constan- 
tine, will suggest to our most candid thoughts the idea of a 
prince who could sacrifice without reluctance the laws of 
justice, and the feelings of nature, to the dictates either of 
his passions or of his interest. 

The same fortune which :So invariably followed the stand- 
ard of Constantine, seemed to secure the hopes and com- 
forts of his domestic life. Those among his predecessors 
who had enjoyed the longest and most prosperous reigns, 
Augustus, Trajan, and Diocletian, had been disappointed 
of posterity ; and the frequent revolutions had never allowed 
sufficient time for any Imperial family to groAV up and 
multiply under the shade of the purple. But the royalty 
of the Flavian line, which had been first ennobled by the 
Gothic Claudius, descended through several generations ; 
and Constantine himself derived from his royal father the 
liereditary honors which he transmitted to his children. 
The emperor had been twice married. jMinervina, the 
obscure but lawful object of his youthful attachment," had 
left him only one son, who was called Crispus. By Fausta, 

« Julian, in the Caesars, attempts to ridicule his uncle. His suspicious testi- 
mony is coutirmed, however, by the learned Spanheini, with the authority of 
medals (see Commentaire, pp. 15fi, 299, 397, 459). Eusebius (Orat. c. 5) alleges, that 
Constantine dressed for the public, not for himself. Were this admitted, the 
vainest coxcomb could never want an excuse. 

7 Zosimus and Zonaras agree in representing Minervina as the concubine of 
Constantine ; but Ducange has very gallantly rescued her character, by produc- 
ing a decisive passage from one of the panegyrics : ** Ab ipso tine pueriLia; te 
matrimonii legibus dedisti." 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 75 

tlie daughter of Maximian, he had three daughters, and 
three sons known by the kindred names of Constantine, 
Constantius, and Constans. The unambitious brothers of 
the great Constantine, Julius Constantius, Dalmatius, and 
Ilannibalianus,^ were permitted to enjoy the most honor- 
able rank, and the most affluent fortune, that could be con- 
sistent with a private station. The youngest of the three 
lived without a name, and died without posterity. His 
two elder brothers obtained in marriage the daughters of 
wealthy senators, and propagated new branches of the Im- 
perial race. Gallus and Julian afterwards became the most 
illustrious of the children of Julius Constantius, the Patri- 
cian. The two sons of Dalmatius, who had been decorated 
with the vain title of Censor^ were named Dalmatius and 
Hannibalianus. The two sisters of the great Constantine, 
Anastasia and Eutropia, were bestowed on Optatus and 
Nepotianus, two senators of noble birth and of consular 
dignity. His third sister, Constantia, was distinguished by 
her preeminence of greatness and of misery. She remained 
the widow of the vanquished Licinius ; and it was by her 
entreaties, that an innocent boy, the offspring of their mar- 
riage, preserved, for some time, his life, the title of Cagsar, 
and a precarious hope of the succession. Besides the 
females, and the allies of the Flavian house, ten or twelve 
males, to whom the language of modern courts would apply 
the title of princes of the blood, seemed, according to the 
order of their birth, to be destined either to inherit or to 
support the throne of Constantine. But in less than thirty 
years, this numerous and increasing family was reduced to 
the persons of Constantius and Julian, who alone had sur- 
vived a series of crimes and calamities, such as the tragic 
poets have deplored in the devoted lines of Pelops and of 
Cadmus. 

Crispus, the eldest son of Constantine, and the presump- 
tive heir of the empire, is represented by impartial historians 
as an amiable and accomplished youth. The care of his 
education, or at least of his studies, was intrusted to Lactan- 
tius, the most eloquent of the Christians ; a preceptor admir- 
ably qualified to form the taste, and to excite the virtues, of 
liis illustrious disciple.^ At the age of seventeen, Crispus 

8 Ducange (Familiae Byzaiitina?, p. 44) bestowson Lim, after Zonaras, the name 
of Constantine ; a name somewhat unlikely, as it was already occupied by the 
elder brother. That of Hannibalianus is mentioned in the Paschal Chronicle, 
and is approved by Tillemont. Hist, des Empereurs, torn. iv. p. 527. 

'•* Jeroni. in Chron. The poverty of Lactantius may be applied either to the 
praise of the disinterested philosopher, or to the shame of the unfeeling patron. 



76 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

"was invested with the title of Cresar, and tlie administration 
of the Gallic provinces, where the inroads of the Germans 
gave him an early occasion of signalizing liis military 
prowess. In the civil war which broke out soon afterwards, 
the father and son divided their powers ; and this history 
l)as already celebrated the valor as well as conduct displayed 
by the latter, in forcing the straits of the Hellespont, so 
obstinately defended by tlic superior fleet of Licinius. This 
naval victory contributed to determine the event of the 
war ; and the names of Constantine and of Crispus were 
united in ihe joyful acclamations of their eastern subjects; 
who loudly proclaimed, that the world had been subdued, 
and Avas now governed, by an emperor endowed with every 
virtue ; and by his illustrious son, a prince beloved of 
Heaven, and- the lively image of his father's perfections. 
The public favor, which seldom accompanies old age, dif- 
fused its lustre over the youth of Crispus. He deserved 
the esteem, and he engaged the affections, of the court, the 
army, and the people. The experienced merit of a reigning 
monarch is acknowledged by his subjects with reluctance, 
and frequently denied with partial and discontented mur- 
murs ; Avhile, from the opening virtues of his successor, they 
fondly conceive the most unbounded hopes of private as 
well as public felicity.^'^ 

This dangerous popularity soon excited the attention of 
Constantine, who, both as a father and as a king, was impa- 
tient of an equal. Instead of attempting to secure the alle- 
giance of his son by the generous ties of confidence and 
gratitude, he resolved to prevent the mischiefs which might 
be apprehended from dissatisfied ambition. Crispus soon 
had reason to complain, that Avhile his infant brother Con- 
stantius was sent, with the title of Caesar, to reign over his 
peculiar department of the Gallic provinces,^^ Ae, a prince 
of mature years, who had performed such recent and signal 
services, instead of being raised to the superior rank of 
Augustus, was confined almost a prisoner to his father's 

See Tillemont, Mem. Ecclesiast. torn. vi. part i. p. 345. Dupin, Biblioth^que 
Ecclesiast. torn. i. 1. 205. Lardjier's Credibility of the Gospel History, part ii. vol. 
vii. p. GG. 

1" Euseb. Hist. Ecclesiast. 1. x, c. ?. Eutropius (x. 6) styles him " egregium 
rirum;" and Julian (Orat. i). very plainly alludes to the exploits of Cnspus in 
the civil war. See Spanheim, Coninie)it. p. 02. 

^1 Compare Idatius and the Paschal Chronicle, wiih Ammianus (1, xiv. c. r>). 
The j/ear in which Constantius was created Cresar seems to be more accurately 
fixed by the two chronolof^ists ; but the historian who lived in his court could not 
be ijjnorantof the datj of the anniversary. For the appointment of the new 
Ca-sar to the provinces of Gaul, see Juliaji, Orat. i. p. 12, Godefroy, Chronol. 
Legum, p. 2G, and Blondel, de la Priiuauiede I'Eglise, p. 1183. 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 77 

court ; and exposed, without power or defence, to every 
calumny which the malice of his enemies could sugp^est. 
Under such painful circumstances, the royal youth might 
not always be able to compose his behavior, or suppress his 
discontent ; and we may be assured, that he was encom- 
passed by a train of indiscreet or perfidious followers, who 
assiduously studied to inflame, and who were perhaps in- 
structed to betray, the unguarded warmth of his resentment. 
An edict of Constantine, published about this time, mani- 
festly indicates his real or affected suspicions, that a secret 
conspiracy had been formed against his person and govern- 
ment. By all the allurements of honors and rewards, he 
invites informers of every degree to accuse without excep- 
tion his magistrates or ministers, his friends or his most in- 
timate favorites, protesting, with a solemn asseveration, that 
he himself will listen to the charge, that he himself will 
revenge his injuries ; and concluding with a prayer, which 
discovers some apprehension of danger, that the providence 
of the Supreme Being may still continue to protect the safety 
of the emperor and of the empire. ■''^ 

The informers, who complied with so liberal an invita- 
tion, were sufiiciently versed in the arts of courts to select 
the friends and adherents of Crispus as the guilty persons ; 
nor is there any reason to distrust the veracity of the em- 
peror, who had promised an am23le measure of revenge and 
j^unishment. The policy of Constantine maintained, how- 
ever, the same appearances of regard and confidence towards 
a son, whom he began to consider as his most irreconcilable 
enemy. Medals were struck with the customary vows for 
the long and auspicious reign of the young Caesar ; ^^ and as 
the people, who were not admitted into the secrets of the 
palace, still loved his virtues, and respected his dignity, a 
poet who solicits his recall from exile, adores with equal 
devotion the majesty of the father and that of the son.^"* 
The time was now arrived for celebrating the august cere- 
mony of the twentieth year of the reign of Constantine ; 
and the emperor, for that purpose, removed his court from 
Nicomedia to Rome, where the most splendid preparations 
had been made for his reception. Every eye, and every 

'2 Cod. Theod. 1. ix. tit, iv. Godefroy suspected the secret motives of this law. 
Comment, tom iii. jj. 9, 

13 Ducaiige, Fam. Byz9.nt. p. 28. Tillemont, tom. iv. p. 610, 
1* His name was Porpliyrius Optatianus. The date of liis panepryric, written, 
according to the taste of the age, in vile acrostics, is settled by Scaligerad Euseb, 
p. 250, Tillemont, tom. iv. p. 6U7, and Fabricius, Biblioth. Latin, 1. iv. c. 1. 



78 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

tongue, affected to express their sense of the general hap- 
piness, and the veil of ceremony and dissimulation was 
drawn for a wliile over the darkest desic^ns of revencre and 
murder.^^ In the midst of the festival, the unfortunate 
Crispus was apprehended by order of the emperor, who laid 
aside the tenderness of a father, without assuming the 
equity of a judge. The examination was short and pri- 
vate ; ^^ and as it was thought decent to conceal the fate of 
the young prince from the eyes of tlie Roman people, he 
was sent under a strong guard to Pola, in Istria, where, 
soon afterwards, he Avas put to death, either by the hand of 
the executioner, or by the more gentle operation of poison." 
The Caesar Licinius, a youth of amiable manners, was in- 
volved in the ruin of Crispus : ^^ and the stern jealousy of 
Constantine was unmoved by the prayers and tears of liis 
favorite sister, pleading for the life of a son, whose rank 
was his only crime, and whose loss she did not long survive. 
The story of these unhappy princes, the nature and evidence 
of their guilt, the forms of their trial, and the circumstances 
of their death, were buried in mysterious obscurity ; and 
the courtly bishop, who has celebrated in an elaborate work 
the virtues and piety of his hero, observes a prudent silence 
on the subject of these tragic events.^^ Such haughty con- 
tempt for the opinion of mankind, whilst it imprints an in- 
delible stain on the memory of Constantine, must remind us 
of the very different behavior of one of the greatest 

15 Zosim. 1. ii. p. 103. Godefroy, Clironol. Legum, p. 28. 

i<5 ' \KpiTia'i,u-ithout a trial, is the strong and most probably the just expression 
of Suidas. The elder Victor, who wrote under the next reign, speaks with be- 
coming caution. '"Nalu graudior incertum qua causa, patris judicio occidisset." 
If we consult the succeeding writers, Eutropius, the younger Victor, Orosius, 
Jerom, Zosimus, Philostorgius, and Gregory of Tours, their Iknowledge will ap- 
pear gradually to increase, as their means of information must have diminished — 
a circumstance which fi-equently occurs in historical disquisition. 

1^ Amniianus (1. xiv. c. 11) uses the genera) expression of peremptum. Codinus 
(p. 34) beheads the young prince ; butSidonius Apoliinaris (Epistol. v. 8), for the 
sake perhaps of an antithesis to Fausta's warm bath, chooses to administer a 
draught of cold poison. 

18 Sororis lilium, commodre indolis juvenem. Eutropius, x. 6. May 1 not be 
permitted to conjecture that Crispus had married Helena, the daughter of the 
emperor Licinius, and that on the happy delivery of the princess, in tlie year 
322, a general pardon was granted by Constantine V See Ducange, Fam. Byzant. 
p. 47, and the law (1. ix. tit. xxxvii.) of the Theodosian code, which has so much 
embarrassed the interpreters. Godefroy. tom. iii. p. 267 * 

ly See the life of Constantine, particularly 1. ii. c. 10, 20. Two hundred and 
fifty years afterwards, Evagrius (1. iii. c. 41), deduced from the silence of Eusebius 
a vain argument against the reality of the fact. 



* This conjecture is very doubtful. The obscurity of the law quoted from the 
Theodosian code scarcely allows any inference, and there is extant but one medal 
which can be attributed to a Helena, wife of Crispus. See Eckhel, Doct. Num. 
Vet. t. viii. pp. 102 and 145.— G. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 79 

monarchs of the present age. The Czar Peter, in the full 
possession of despotic power, submitted to the judgment of 
Russia, of Europe, and of posterity, the reasons which had 
compelled him to subscribe the condemnation of a criminal, 
or at least of a degenerate, son.^° 

The innocence of Crispus Avas so universally acknowledged, 
that the modern Greeks, who adore the memory of their 
founder, are reduced to palliate the guilt of a parricide, 
which the common feelings of human nature forbade them 
to justify. They pretend, that as soon as the afflicted 
father discovered the falsehood of the accusation by which 
his credulity had been so fatally misled, he published to the 
world his repentance and remorse ; that he mourned forty 
days, during which he abstained from the use of the bath, 
and all the ordinary comforts of life ; and that, for the last- 
ing instruction of posterity, he erected a golden statue of 
Crispus, with this memorable inscription : To my sox, 
■WHOM I UNJUSTLY coNDEMNED.^^ A tale SO moral and so 
interesting would deserve to be supported by less excep- 
tionable authority; but if we consult the more ancient and 
authentic writers, they will inform us, that the repentance 
of Constantine was manifested only in acts of blood and 
revenge ; and that he atoned for the murder of an innocent 
son, by the execution, perhaps, of a guilty wif^. They 
ascribe the misfortunes of Crispus to the arts of his step- 
mother Fausta, whose implacable hatred, or whose disap- 
pointed love, renewed in the palace of Constantine the an- 
cient tragedy of Hippolytus and of Phyedra.^^ Like the 
daughter of Minos, the daughter of Maximian accused her 
son-in-law of an incestuous attempt on the chastity of his 
father's wife ; and easily obtained, from the jealousy of the 
emperor, a sentence of death against a young prince, whom 
she considered with reason as the most formidable rival of 
her own children. But Helena, the aged mother of Con- 
stantine, lamented and revenged the untimely fate of her 
grandson Crispus ; nor was it long before a real or pretended 
discovery was made, that Fausta herself entertained a 
criminal connection with a slave belonging to the Imperial 

20 Histoire <le Pierre le Grand, par Voltaire, part ii. c. 10. 

21 In order to prove that the statue wasei-ected by Constantine, and afterwards 
concealed by the malice of the Arians, Codiims very rea<lily creates (p. 34) two 
witnesses, Hippolytus, and the younger Herodotus, to whose imaginary histories 
he appeals with unblushing confidence. 

-2 Zosimus (1. ii. p. 103) may be considered as our original. The ingenuity of 
the moderns, assisted by a few hints from the ancients, has illustrated and im- 
proved his obscure and imperfect narrative. 



80 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

stables.^^ Her condemnation and punishment were the in- 
stant consequences of the charge; and the adulteress was 
suffocated by the steam of a bath, whicli, for that purpose, 
had been heated to an extraordinary degree.^* By some it 
will perhaps be thought, that the remembrance of a conjugal 
union of twenty years, and the honor of their common off- 
spring, the destined heirs of the throne, might have softened 
the obdurate heart of Constantine, and persuaded him to 
suffer his wife, however guilty she might appear, to expiate 
her offences in a solitary prison. But it seems a superfluous 
labor to weigh the propriety, unless we could ascertain tlie 
truth, of this singular event, which is attended with some 
circumstances of doubt and perplexity. Those wiio have 
attacked, and those who have defended, the character of 
Constantine, have alike disregarded two very remarkable 
passages of two orations pronounced under t]i(^ succeeding 
reign. The former celebrates the virtues, the beauty, and 
the fortune of the empress Fausta, the daughter, wife, 
sister, and mother of so many princes.^^ Tlie latter as- 
serts, in explicit terms, that the mother of the younger 
Constantine, who was slain three years after his father's 
death, survived to weep over the fate of her son.^^ Not- 
withstanding the positive testimony of several writers 
of the Pagan as well as of the Christian religion, there may 
still remain some reason to believe, or at least to suspect, 
that Fausta escaped the blind and suspicious cruelty of her 
husband.* The deaths of a son and of a nephew, with the 
execution of a great number of respectable, and perhaps in-s 

23 Philostoi'giu?, 1. ii. c. 4. Zosjmiis (\ ii. pp. 104, 116) imputes to Coustar.tfne 
the death of two wives, of the innocent Fausta, and of an adulteress, who was 
the mothei- of his three successors. According to Jerom, tlu«e or fpur years 
elapsed between the death of Crispus and that pf Fausta. The elder Victor i^ 
prudently silent. 

2* If Fausta was put to death, it is reasonable to believe that the private {ipart, 
ments of the palace were the scene of her execution. The orator Chrysostoni 
indulges his fancy by exposing the naked empress on a desert mountain to be de- 
voured by wild beasts. 

2J Julian. Orat. i. He seems to call her the mother of Crispus. She might 
assume that title by adoption. At least, she was not considered as his nional 
enemy. Julian compares the fortune of Fausta with that of Parysatis, the 
Persian queen. A Roman would have more naturally recollected the second 
Agripi^in^ :— 

Et moi, qui sur le trone ai suivi nies anoetres : 
Moi, tille, femme, soeur, et mere Ue vos maitres. 

2G Monod. in Constantin. Jun. c. 4. ad Calcem Eutrop. edit. Havercamp. The 
orj^tor styles her the most divine and pious of queens. 



* Manso (Leben Constantins, p. Co) treats this inference of Gibbon, and the 
authorities to which lie appeals, with too much cortenii>t, considering the general 
scantiness of proof on this curious question.— !M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 81 

nocent friends,^ who were involved in their fall, may be 
sufficient, however, to justify the discontent of the Roman 
people, and to explain the satirical verses affixed to the 
palace gate, comparing the splendid and bloody reigns of 
Constantino and Nero.^^ 

By the death of Crispus, the inheritance of the empire 
seemed to devolve on the three sons of Fausta, who have 
been already mentioned under the names of Constantine, of 
Constantius, and of Constans. These young princes were 
successively invested with tlie title of Caesar ; and the dates 
of tlieir promotion may be referi-ed to tlie tenth, the twen- 
tieth, and the thirtieth years of the reign of their father.-^ 
This conduct, though it tended to multiply the future mas- 
ters of the Roman world, might be excused by the partiality 
of paternal affection ; but it is not so easy to understand the 
motives of the emperor, when he endangered tlie safety both 
of his family and of his people, by the unnecessary elevation 
of his two nephews, Dalmatius and Ilannibalianus. The 
former was raised, by the title of Caesar, to an equality with 
his cousins. In favor of the latter, Constantine invented the 
new and singular appellation of JVobilissimus ; ^'^ to which 
he annexed the flattering distinction of a robe of purple and 
gold. But of the whole series of Roman princes in any age 
of the empire Hannibalianus alone was distinguished by the 
title of King; a name which the subjects of Tiberius would 
have detested, as the profane and cruel insult of capricious 
tyranny. The use of such a title, even as it appears under 
the reign t>i Constantine, is a strange and unconnected fact, 
which can scarcely be admitted on the joint authority of 
Imperial medals and contemporary writers.^^ 

^ Interfecitimmerosos amicos. Eutrop. x. 6. 

** Saturni aurea saecula quis requiiat? 

Sunt liaec geminea, sed Neioiiiaua. 

Sidon. ApolHnar. v. 8. 
It is somewliat singular that these satirical lines should he attributed, not to an 
obscure libeller, or a disappointed patriot, but to Ablavius, prime minister and 
favorite of the emperor. We may now perceive that the imprecations of the 
Roman people were dictated by humanity, as well as by superstition. Zosim, 1. 
ii- p. 105- 

23 Euseb. Orat. in Constantin. c. 3. These dates are sufficiently correct to 
justify the orator. 

*' Zosim. 1. ii. p. 117. Under the predecessors of Constantine, Xobilissimus 
was a vague epithet, rather than a legal and determined title. 

•*' Austrunnt nummi veteres ac singulares. Spanheim de Usu Numismat. 
I>issertat, xii. vol. ii. p. 357. Ammianus speaks of this Roman king (1. xiv. c. 1, 
and Valesius ad ioc). The Valesian fragment styles him King of kings ; and the 
Paschal Clironicle (p. 286), by employing the word Pijya, acquires the weight of 
Latin evidence.* 



* Hannibalianus is always designated in these authors by the title of king. 

Vol. II.— 6 



82 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

The whole empire was deeply interested in the education 
of these five youths, the acknowledged successors of Con- 
stantine. The exercises of the body j^repared them for the 
fatigues of war and the duties of active life. Those who 
occasionally mention the education or talents of Constantius, 
allow that he excelled in the gymnastic arts of leaping and 
running ; that he was a dexterous archer, a skilful horse- 
man, and a master of all the different weapons used in the 
service either of the cavalry or of the infantry.^- The same 
assiduous cultivation was bestowed, though not perhaps 
with equal success, to improve the minds of the sons and 
nephews of Constantine.*^ The most celebrated professors 
of the Christian faith, of the Grecian philosophy, and of the 
Roman jurisprudence, were invited by the libei*ality of the 
emperor, who reserved for himself the important task of 
instructing the royal youths in the science of government, 
and the knowledge of mankind. But the genius of Con- 
stantine himself had been formed by adversity and experi- 
ence. In the free intercourse of private life, and amidst the 
dangei*s of the court of Galerius, he had learned to command 
his own passions, to encounter those of his equals, and to 
depend for his present safety and future greatness on the 
prudence and firmness of his personal conduct. His destined 
successors had the misfortune of being born and educated 
in the Imperial purple. Incessantly surrounded with a ti*ain 
of flatterers, they passed their youth in the enjoyment of 
luxury, and the expectation of a throne ; nor would the 
dignity of their rank permit them to descend from that ele- 
vated station from wdience the various characters of human 
natui'e appear to wear a smooth and uniform aspect. The 
indulgence of Constantine admitted them, at a very tender 
age, to share the administration of the empire ; and they 
studied the art of reigning, at the expense of the people in- 
trusted to their care. The younger Constantine was ap- 

32 His dexterity in martial exercises is celebrated by Julian (Orat. i. p. 11, 
Orat. ii. p. 53), and allowed by Ammianus (.1. xxi. c. 16). 

** Euseb. in Vit. Coiistantin. 1. iv. c. 51. Julian, Orat. i. pp. 11-16, with Sj^an- 
heim's elaborate Commentary. Libanius, Orat. iii. p. 109. Constantius studied 
with laudable diligence ; but the dulness of Lis fancy prevented him from suc- 
ceeding in the art of poetry, or even of rhetoric. 



There still exist medals struck to his honor, on which the same title is found, Ft,. 
HANNIBALIANO REGI. See Eckhel, Doct. Num. t. viii.p. UU. Arnieniaui nation- 
esque circum socias habebat, says Aur. Victor, p. 225. The writer means the 
Lesser Armenia. Though it is not possible to question a fact supported by siich 
respectable authorities, Gibbon considers it inexplical)le and incredible. It is h 
strange abuse of the privilege of doubting, to refuse all belief in a fact of such 
little importance in itself, and attested thus formally by contemijon'.ry authors 
and public monuments. St. Martin, note to Le Beau, 1. 341.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 83 

pointed to hold his court in Gaul ; and his brother Constan- 
tius exchanged that department, the ancient patrimony of 
their father, for the more opulent, but less martial, countries 
of the East. Italy, the Western Illyricum, and Africa, were 
accustomed to revere Constans, the third of his sons, as the 
representative of the great Constantine. HelixedDalraatius 
on the Gothic frontier, to which he annexed the government 
of Thrace, Macedonia, and Gi-eece. The city of Cossarea 
was chosen for the residence of Hannibnlianus ; and the 
provinces of Pontus, Cappadocia, and the Lesser Armenia, 
"were destined to form the extent of his new kingdom. For 
each of these princes a suitable establishment was provided. 
A just proportion of guards, of legions, and of auxiliaries, 
was allotted for their respective dignity and defence. The 
ministers and generals, who were placed about their persons, 
were such as Constantine could trust to assist, and even to 
control, these youthful sovereimis in the exercise of their 
delegated power. As they advanced in years and experi- 
ence, the limits of their authority were insensibly enlarged : 
but the emperor always reserved for himself the title of 
Augustus ; and while he showed the Ccesars to the armies 
and provinces, he maintained every part of the empire in 
equal obedience to its supreme head.^^ The tranquillity of 
the last fourteen years of his reign was scarcely interrupted 
by the contemj^tible insurrection of a camel-driver in the 
Island of Cyprus,^^ or by the active part Avhich the policy of 
Constantine engaged him to assume in the wars of the Goths 
and Sarmatians. 

Among the different branches of the human race, the Sar- 
matians form a very remarkable shade ; as they seem to 
unite the manners o^ the Asiatic barbarians Avith the figure 
and complexion of the ancient inhabitants of Europe. Ac- 
cording to the various accidents of peace and war, of alli- 
ance or conquest, the Sarmatians were sometimes confined 
to the banks of the Tanais ; and they sometimes spread 
themselves over the immense plains which lie between the 
Vistula and the Volga.^® The care of their numerous flocks 

^^Eusebius (1. iv. c. 51, 52), with a design of exalting the authority and glory 
of CoiisLantine, atlirms, tliat he divi«le(l the Roman empire as a private citizen 
might have divided his patrimony. His distribution of the provinces may bo 
collected from Eutrupius, the two Victors, and the Yalesian fragment. 

^ Calocerus, the obscure leader of this rebellion, or rather tumult, was appre- 
hended and burnt alive in the market-place of Tarsus, by ihe vigilance of I^ahna- 
tius. See the elder Victor, the Chronicle of Jerom, and the doubtful traditions 
of Theophanes and Cedrenus. 

3J Cellarius has collected the opinions of the ancients concerning the European 
and Asiatic Sarmatia ; and M. D'Anville has ap;>lied them to modern geograi^hy 
with the skill aud accuracy which always distinguish that excellent writer. 



84 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

and herds, the pursuit of game, and the exercise of war, or 
rather of rapine, directed the vagrant motions of the Sar- 
matians. The movable camps or cities, the ordinary resi- 
dence of their wives and children, consisted only of large 
wnggons drawn by oxen, and covered in the form of tents. 
The military strength of the nation was composed of cavalry ; 
and the custom of their warriors, to lead in their hand one 
or two spare horses, enabled them to advance and to retreat 
with a rapid diligence which surprised the security, and 
eluded the pursuit, of a distant enemy.^'^ Their poverty of 
iron prompted their rude industry to invent a sort of 
cuirass, which was capable of resisting a sword or javelin, 
though it was formed only of horses' hoofs, cut into thin 
and polished slices, carefully laid over each other in the 
manner of scales or feathers, and strongly sewed upon an 
under garment of coarse linen.^^ The offensive arms of the 
Sarmatians were short daggers, long lances, and a weighty 
bow with a quiver of arrows. They were reduced to the neces- 
sity of employing fish-bones for the points of their weapons ; 
but the custom of dipping them in a venomous liquor, that 
poisoned the wounds which they inflicted, is alone sufticient 
to prove the most savage manners, since a people impressed 
with a sense of humanity would have abhorred so cruel a 
practice, and a nation skilled in the arts of war would have 
disdained so impotent a resource.^^ Whenever these Bar- 
barians issued from their deserts in quest of prey, their 
shaggy beards, uncombed locks, the furs with which they 
were covered from head to foot, and their fierce counten- 
ances, which seemed to express the innate cruelty of their 
minds, inspired the more civilized provincials of Rome with 
horror and dismay. 

The tender Ovid, after a youth spent in the enjoyment 
of fame and luxuiy, was condemned to a hopeless exile on 

37 Ammian. 1. xvii. c. 12. The Sarmatian horses were castrated to prevent the 
mischievous accidents which miglit happen from tiie noisy and ungovernable 
passions of the males. 

^^ Pausanius, 1. i. p. 50, edit. Knhn. That inquisitive traveller had carefullj' 
examined a Sarmatian cuirass, which was preserved in the temple of iEsculapius 
at Atiiena. 

29 Aspicis et mitti sub adunco toxica ferro, 

Et telum causas moriis habere duas. 

Ovid. ex. Ponto, 1. iv. ep. 7, ver. 11. 

See in the Recherches sur les Americains, torn. ii. pp. 236-271, a very curious dis- 
sertation on poisoned darts. The venom was commonly extracted from the vege- 
table reign ; but that employed by the Scythians appears to have been drawn 
from the viper, and a mixture of human blood. The use of poisoned arms, which 
has been spread over both worlds, never preserved a savage tribe from the arms 
of a disciplined enemy. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 85 

the frozen banks of the Danube, where he was exposed, 
almost without defence, to the fury of these monsters of the 
desert, with whose stern spirits he feared that his gentle 
shade might hereafter be confounded. In his pathetic, but 
sometimes unmanly lamentations,''*' he describes in the most 
lively colors the dress and manners, the arms and inroads, 
of the Getae and Sarmatians, who w^ere associated for the 
purposes of destruction ; and from the accounts of history 
there is some reason to believe that these Sarmatians were 
the Jazyga), one of the most numerous and warlike tribes of 
tlie nation. The alhirements of plenty engaged them to 
seek a ])ermanent establishment on the frontiers of the em- 
pire. Soon after the reign of Augustus, they obliged the 
Dacians, who subsisted by fishing on the banks of the River 
Teyss or Tibiscus, to retire into the hilly coiintiy, and to 
abandon to the victorious Sarmatians the fertile plains of 
the Upper Hungary, which are bounded by the course of 
the Danube and the semicircular enclosure of the Carpa- 
thian Mountain s.^^ In this advantageous position, they 
watched or suspended the moment of attack ; as they were 
provoked by injuries or appeased by presents, they gradu- 
ally acquired the skill of using more dangerous weapons ; 
and although the Sfirmatians did not illustrate their name 
by any memorable exploits, they occasionally assisted their 
eastern and western neighbors, the Goths and the Germans, 
with a formidable body of cavalry. They lived, under the 
irregular aristocracy of their chieftains ; ^^ but after they 
had received into thoir bosom the fugitive Vandals, who 
yielded to the pressure of the Gothic power, they seem to 
liave ehosen a king from that nation, and from the illustrious 
race of the Astingi, Avho had formerly dwelt on the shores 
of the northern ocean. ^^ .^ 

*^ The nine hooks of Poetical Epistles which Ovid composed during the seven 
first years of his melancholy exile, possess, besides the merit of elegance, a dou- 
ble value. Thcjy exhibit a picture of the human mind under V(!ry singular cir- 
cumstances ; and they contain many curious observations, whidi no K<>man, 
except Ovid, could have an opportunity of making. Every circumstan(;c which 
tends to illustrate the history of the Barbarians, has been drawn together by the 
very accurate Count de Buat. Hist. Ancienne des Peuples de I'Europe, torn. iv. 
c. xvi. pp. 286-1)17. 

^i The Sarmatiau Jazygse were settled on the banks of Pathissus or Tibiscus, 
when Pliny, in the year 79, published his Natural History. See 1. iv. c. 25. In 
the time of Strabo and Ovid, sixty or seventy years before, they appear to have 
inhabited Ijeyond the Geta?, along the coast of the Euxine. 

^- Principes Sarmatariim Jazygum penes quos civitatis regimen^ 'plebem 

quoque et vim equitum, qua sola valent, offerebant. Tacit. Hist. iii. 5. This oiler 
was made in the civil war between Altellius and Vespasian. 

•♦•^ This hypothesis of a Vandal king reigning over Sarmatian subjects, seen)s 
necessary to reconcile the Goth flornand'^s witli the Greek and Latin historiaiis 
of Constantine. It may be observed that Isidore, who lived in Spain under the 



86 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

This motive of enmity must have inflamed the subjects 
of contention, which perpetually arise on the confines of 
warlike and independent nations. The Vandal princes were 
stimulated by fear and revenge ; the Gothic kings a8})ired to 
extend their dominion from the Euxine to the frontiers of 
Germany ; and the waters of the Maros, a small ri\er which 
falls into the Teyss, were stained with the blood of the con- 
tending Barbarians. After some experience of the superior 
strengtli and numbers of their adversaries, the Sarmatians 
implored the protection of the Roman monarch, who beheld 
with pleasure the discord of the nations, but who was justly 
alarmed by the progress of the Gothic arms. As soon as 
Constantine had declared himself in favor of the weaker 
party, the haughty Alaric, king of the Goths, instead of ex 
pecting the attack of the legions, boldly passed the Danube, 
and spread terror and devastation through the province of 
Maesia. To oppose the inroad of this destroying host, the 
aged emperor took the field in person ; but on this occasion 
either his conduct or his fortune betrayed the glory which 
he had acquired in so many foreign and domestic wars. He 
had the mortification of seeing his troops fly before an in- 
considerable detachment of the Barbarians, who pursued 
them to the edge of their fortified camp, and obliged him to 
consult his safety by a precipitate and ignominious retreat.f 
The event of a second and more successful action retrieved 
the honor of the Roman name, and the poAvers of art and 
discipline prevailed, after an obstinate contest, over the 
efforts of irregular valor. The broken army of the Goths 
abandoned the field of battle, the wasted province, and the 
j^assage of the Danube : and although the eldest of the sons 
of Constantine was permitted to sup])ly the place of his 
father, the merit of the victory, which diffused universal 
joy, was ascribed to the ausj^icious counsels of the emperor 
» himself. 

dominion of the Goths, gives them for enemies, not the Vandals, but the Sanna- 
tians. See his Chronicle in Grotius, p. TO'J.* 



* I have already noticed the confusion which must necessarily arise in history, 
when names purely (it oijrapliical , as this of Sarmaiia. are taken for /lisrorical 
names belonging to a single nation. We perceive it here : it has forced Gibbon 
to suppose without any reason but the necessity of extricating himself from liis 
perplexity, that the Sarmatians had taken a king from amo)ig the Vandals; a 
supposition entire y contrary to the usages of Barbarians. JJacia, at this period, 
was occupied, iiot by Sarma ians, who have never formed a distinct race, but by 
A'andals, whom tiie ancioits have often confounded under the general term Sar- 
matinns. See Gattcrer's Welt-Geschichte. p. 4G1. — G. 

t Gibbon states that Constantine was defeated by the Gotbs in a first battle. 
No nncient autlior mentions such an event. It is, no doubt, a mistake in Gibbon. 
St. Martin, note to Le Beau, i o-i. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 87 

He contributed at least to improve this advantage, by 
his negotiations with the free and warlike people of Cher- 
sonesus/* whose capital, situate on the western coast of the 
Tauric or Crimaean peninsula, still retained some vestiges of 
a Grecian colony, and was governed by a perpetual magis- 
trate, assisted by a council of senators, emphatically styled 
the Fathers of the City. The Chersonites were animated 
against the Goths, by the memory of the wars, wliich, in 
the preceding century, they had maintained with unequal 
forces against the invaders of their country. They were 
connected with the Romans by the mutual benefits of com- 
merce ; as they were supplied from the provinces of Asia 
with corn and manufactures, which they purchased with 
their only productions, salt, wax, and hides. Obedient to 
the requisition of Constantine, they prepared, under the 
conduct of their magistrate Diogenes, a considerable army, 
of which the principal strength consisted in cross-bows and 
military chariots. The speedy march and intrepid attack of 
the Chersonites, by diverting the attention of the Goths, as- 
sisted the operations of the Imperial generals. The Goths, 
vanquished on every side, were driven into the mountains, 
where, iu the course of a severe cara23aign, above a hundred 
thousand were computed to have perished by cold and 
hunger. Peace was at iengtli granted to their humble sui> 
plications ; the eldest son of Alaric was accepted as the 
most valuable hostage ; and Constantine endeavored to con- 
vince their chiefs, by a liberal distribution of honors and re- 
wards, how far the friendship of the Romans was preferable 
to their enmity. In the expressions of his gratitude towards 

' *^ I may stand in need of some apology for having used, without scruple, the 
authority of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, in all that relates to the wars aiul ne- 
gotiations of tlie Chersonites. I am aware that he was a Greek oE the tenlh cen- 
tury, and that his accounts of ancient history are frenuently confused and fabu- 
lous. But on this occasion his nariative is, for ihe most part, consistent and 
probable ; nor is there much diificulty in conceiving that an emperor might have 
access to some secret archives, which had escaped the diligence of meaner histo- 
rians. For th3 situation and history of Chersone, see Peyssonel, des Peuples 
barbares qui out habite les Cords du Danube, c. xvi. 84-90.* 



* Gibbon has confounded the inhabitants of the city of Ciierson, the ancient 
Cherso)iesus, with the people of the Chersonesus Taurica. If ho had read with 
more attention the chapter of Constantinus Porphyrogenitus, from whicli this 
narrative is deiived, he would have seen that the author clearly distinguishes the 
republic of Cher-ou from the rest of the Tauric Peninsula, then possessed by 
the kings of the Cimmerian Bosphorus, and that the city of Cherson alone fur- 
n'shed succors to the Romans. The English historian is also mistaken in saying 
that the S'ephaniphoros of the Chersonites was a perp>'tual magistrate ; since it 
is easy to discover from the great number of Stephanephoroi mentioned by Con- 
stantine Porphyrog '7utr,s, that they wera annual magistrates like almost all 
those which governed the Grecian rei)ublics. St. Martin, note to Le Beau, i. 
32G.— M. 



88 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

the faithful Chersonites, the emperor was still more mag- 
nificent. The pride of the nation was gratified by the 
splendid and almost royal decorations bestowed on their 
magistrate and his successors. A perpetual exemption from 
all duties was stipulated for their vessels which traded to 
the ports of the Black Sea. A regular subsidy was prom- 
ised, of iron, corn, oil, and of every supply which could be 
useful either in peace or war. But it was thought that the 
Sarmatians were sufficiently rewarded by their deliverance 
from impending ruin ; and the emperor, perhaps with too 
strict an economy, deducted some part of the expenses of 
the war from the customary gratifications which were 
allowed to that turbulent nation. 

• Exasperated by this apparent neglect, the Sarmatians 
soon forgot, with the levity of barbarians, the services which 
they had so lately received, and the dangers which still 
threatened their safety. Their inroads on the ten'itory of 
the empire provoked the indignation of Constantine to 
leave them to their fate; and he no longer opposed the am- 
bition of Geberic, a renowned warrior, who had recently 
ascended the Gothic throne. Wisumar, the Vandal king, 
whilst alone, and unassisted, he defended his dominions 
with undaunted courage, was vanquished and slain in a de- 
cisive battle, which swept away the flower of the Sarmatian 
youth."^ The remainder of the nation embraced the des- 
perate expedient of arming their slaves, a hardy race of 
hunters and herdsmen, by whose tumultuary aid they 
revenged their defeat, and expelled the invader from their 
confines. But they soon discovered that they had exchanged 
a foreign for a domestic enemy, more dangerous and more 
implacable. Enraged by their former servitude, elated by 
their present glory, the slaves, under the name of Limi- 
gantes, claimed and usurped the possession of the country 
which they had saved. Their masters, unable to withstand 
the ungoverned fury of the po]>ulace, preferred the hard- 
ships of exile to the tyranny of their servants. Some of 
the fugitive Sarmatians solicited a less ignominious depend- 
ence, under the hostile standard of the Goths. A more 
numerous band retired beyond the Carpathian Mountains, 

♦ Gibbon supposes that this war took place because Coustantiue had deducted 
a part of the customary gratitications, granted by liis predecessors to the Sarma- 
tians. Nothing of lliis kind appear.^ in the authors. We see on ilie couiraiy, 
tliat after his victory, and to punish the Sarmatians for the ravages they had 
committed, he withheld the sums which it had been the custom to bestow. SL 
Martin, note to Le Beau, i. 327 — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 89 

among the Quadi, their German allies, and were easily 
admitted to share a superfluous waste of uncultivated land. 
But the far greater part of the distressed nation turned 
their eyes towards the fruitful provinces of Rome. Implor- 
ing the protection and forgiveness of the emperor, they 
solemnly ])romised, as subjects in peace, and as soldiers in 
war, the most inviolable fidelity to the empire which should 
graciously receive them into its bosom. According to the 
maxims adopted by Probus and his successors, the offers of 
this barbarian colony Avere eagerly accepted; and a com- 
petent portion of lands in the provinces of Pannonia, 
Thrace, Macedonia, and Italy, were immediately assigned 
for the habitation and subsistence of three hundred thousand 
Sarmatians.^^ 

By chastising the pride of the Goths, and by accepting 
the homage of a suppliant nation, Constantine asserted the 
majesty of the Roman empire ; and the ambassadors of 
Ethiopia, Persia, and the most remote countries of Indin, 
congratulated the peace and prosperity of his government.^® 
If he reckoned, among the favors of fortune, the death of 
his eldest son, of his nephew, and perhaps of his wife, he 
enjoyed an uninterrupted flow of private as well as public 
felicity, till the thirtieth year of his reign ; a period which 
none of his predecessors, since Augustus, had been per- 
mitted to celebrate. Constantine survived that solemn fes- 
tival about ten months ; and at the mature age of sixty-four, 
after a short illness, he ended his memorable life at the 
palace of Aquyrion, in the suburbs of Nicomedia, whither 
he had retired for the benefit of the air, and with the hope 
of recruiting his exhausted strength by the use of the Avarm 
baths. The excessive demonstrations of grief, or at least of 

43 The Gothic and Sarmatian wars are related in so broken and imperfect a 
manner, that 1 have been obliged to conipare tlie following writers, who mutually 
sai)ply, correct, and illustrate each other. 'J hose "who will take the same tioti- 
ble, may actiuire a right of criticising my narrative. Ainmianus, 1. xvii. c. 12. 
Anonym. A'alesian. p. 715. Eutropius, x. 7. Sextus Rufus de Provinciis, c. 26. 
Julian Orat. i. p. 9, and Spanheim, Comment, p. 94. Hieronym, in ChroTi. Euseb. 
in Vit. Constantin. 1. iv. c. G. Socrates, U i. c. 18. ^ozomeii, 1. i. c. 8. ZoKimus, 
1. iu p. 1U8. Joriiandes de Reb Geticis, c. 22. Isidorus in Chron. p. 700 ; in Hist. 
Gothorum Grotii. Constantin. Fori)hyrogenitus de Admini.strat. Imperii, c. 53, 
p. 208. edit. Meursii.* 

^•> Eusebius (in Vit. Const. 1. iv. c. 50) remarks three circumstances relative to 
these Indians. 1. Tliey came from the shores of tlie eastern ocean; a description 
which might be applied to the coast of China or Coromandel. 2. They presented 
shining gems, and unknown animals. .'5. They protested their kings had erected 
statues to represeiit the sujjreme majesty of Constantino. 



* Compare, on this very obscure but remarkable war, Manso, Leben Constan- 
tine, p. 195.— M, 



90 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

mourning, surpassed whatever had been practised on any 
former occasion. Notwithstanding the chiinis of tlie senate 
and people of ancient Rome, the corpse of the deceased em- 
peror, according to his last request, was transported to the 
city, which was destined to preserve the name and memory 
of its founder. The body of Constantine, adorned with 
the vain symbols of greatness, the pur])le and diadem, was 
de]iosited on a golden bed in one of the apartments of the 
palace, which for that purpose had been splendidly fur- 
nished and illuminated. The forms of the court were 
strictly maintained. Every day, at the appointed hours, 
the principal officers of the state, the army, and the house- 
hold, approaching the person of their sovereign with bended 
knees and a composed countenance, offered their respectful 
homai^e as seriouslv as if he had been still alive. From 
motives of policy, this theatrical representation was for some 
time continued; nor could flattery neglect the opportunity 
of remarking that Constantine alone, by the peculiar indul- 
gence of heaven, had reigned after his death.^"^ 

But this reign could subsist only in empty pageantry ; and 
it was soon discovered that the will of the most absolute 
monarch is seldom obeyed, when his subjects have no longer 
anything to hope from his favor, or to dread from his resent- 
ment. The same ministers and generals, who bowed with 
such reverential awe before the inanimate corpse of their de- 
ceased sovereign, were engaged in secret consultations to 
exclude his two nephews, Dalmatius and Ilannibalianus, 
from the share which he had assigned them in the succession 
of the empire. We are too imperfectly acquainted with the 
court of Constantine to form any judgment of the real motives 
which influenced the leaders of the conspiracy; unless Ave 
should suppose that they were actuated by a spirit of jealousy 
and revenge against the pr^efect Ablavius, a proud favorite, 
who had long directed the counsels and abused the confi- 
dence of the late emperor. The arguments, by which they 
solicited the concurrence of the soldiers and ]:)eople, arc of a 
more obvious nature ; and they might with deceiu;y, as well 
as truth, insist on the superior rank of the children of Con- 
stantine, the danger of multiplying the number of sovereigns, 
and the imi)ending mischiefs which threatened the republic, 

*' Fimus relatum in iirbem sui iiominis, quod sane P. R. fegerrime tulit. Au- 
relius Victor. Constantine prepaied lor liimself a stately tomb in ihe church of 
the Holy Aposiles. Kuseb. 1. iv. c. GO. The best, nnd indeed almost the only 
account of tlie sickness, death, and funeral of Constantine, is contained in the 
fourth book of his Life, by Eusebius. 



OF THE r.OMAN EMriRE. 91 

from the discord of so many rival princes, who were nol con- 
nected by the tender synipatliy of fraternal affection. The 
intripfue was conducted with zeal and secrecy, till a loud and 
unanimous declaration was procured from the troops, that 
they Avould suffer none except the sons of their lamented 
monarch to reign over the Koman empire.^^ The younger 
Dalmatius, who was united with his collateral relations by 
the ties of friendship and interest, is allowed to have inherited 
a considerable share of the abilities of the great Constantine: 
but, on this occasion he does not appear to have concerted 
any measures for supporting, by arms, the just claims which 
himself and his royal brother derived from the liberality of 
their uncle. Astonished and overwhelmed by the tide of 
2")opular fury, they seem to have remained, without the power 
of flight or of resistance, in the hands of their implacable 
enemies. Their fate was suspended till the arrival of Con- 
stantius, the second,^^ and perhaps the most favored, of the 
sons of Constantine. 

The voice of the dying emperor had recommended the 
care of his funeral to the piety of Constantius ; and that 
prince, by the vicinity of his eastern station, could easily pre- 
vent the diligence of his brothers, who resided in their dis- 
tant government of Italy and Gaul. As soon as he had taken 
possession of the palace of Constantinople, his first care was 
to remove the apprehensions of his kinsmen, by a solemn oath 
Avhich he pledged for their security. His next employment 
was to find some specious pretence which might release his 
conscience from the obligation of an imprudent promise. 
The arts of fraud were made subservient to the designs of 
cruelty ; and a manifest forgery was attested by a person of 
the most sacred character. From the hands of the Bishop of 
Nicomedia, Constantius received a fatal scroll, affirmed to be 
the genuine testament of his father ; in which the emperor 
expressed his suspicions that he had been poisoned by his 
brothers ; and conjured his sons to revenge his death, and to 
consult their own safety, by the punishment of the guilty. ^*^ 

*^ Eusebius (1. iv. c. 68) terminates his narrative by this loyal declaralion of the 
troops, and avoids all the invidious circunistAnces of the subsequent niussacie. 

*'^ The character of Dalmatius is advantageously, though concisely, drawji by 
Eutropius. (x. 9.) Dalmatius Csesar prosperrima indole, neque patruo absiniilis, 
haud multo post oppressus est factione militari. As both Jerom and ihe Alexan- 
drian Chronicle mention the third year of tlio Cfesar, ^vhich did not commence 
till the 18th or 24th of September, A. D. 3.37, it is certain that these military fac- 
tions continued above four months. 

&' I have related this -i'ltriilfir anecdote on the authority of Philostorgius, ]. ii. 
c. 16. But if such a pretext was ever used by Constantius and hi.-s adherents. 



92 THE BECLIXE AXD FALL 

"Whatever reasons might have been alleged hy these unfor- 
tunate princes to defend their life and honor against so in- 
credible an accusation, they were silenced by the furious 
clamors of the soldiers, who declared themselves, at once, 
their enemies, their judges, and their executioners. The 
spirit, and even the forms of legal proceedings were repeat- 
edly violated in a promiscuous massacre ; which involved 
the two imcles of Constantius, seven of his cousins, of whom 
Dalmatius and Hannibalianus were the most illustrious, the 
Patrician Optatus, who had married a sister of the late em- 
peror, and the Proefect Ablavius, whose power and riches had 
inspired him with some hopes of obtaining the purple. If it 
were necessary to aggravate the horrors of this bloody scene, 
we might add that Constantius himself had espoused the 
daughter of his uncle Julius, and that he had bestowed his sis- 
ter in marriage on his cousin Hannibalianus. These alliances, 
which the policy of Constantino, regardless of the public pre- 
judice,^^ had formed between the several branches of the 
Imperial house, served only to convince mankind, that these 
princes were as cold to the endearments of conjugal affection, 
as they were insensible to the ties of consanguinity, and the 
moving entreaties of youth and innocence. Of so numerous 
a family, Gallus and Julian alone, the two youngest children 
of Julius Constantius, Avere saved from the hands of the as- 
sassins, till their rage, satiated with slaughter, had in some 
measure subsided. The emperor Constantius, who, in the 
absence of his brothers, was the most obnoxious to guilt and 
reproach, discovered, on some future occasioUvS, a faint and 
transient remoree for those cruelties which the pei-fidious 

it was laid aside witli oonteYnpt, as soon as it served their imiTiediate purpose. 
Atbanasius (toin. i. p. -856) mentions the <oath which Constantius had taken for the 
security ot his kinsmen** 

&i Conjugia sobrinarum diu ignorata, tempoi'e addito percrebuisse. Tacit. 
Annal. xii. G, and Lipsius ad loc. The repeal of the ancient law, and the practice 
of live hundred years, were insufficient to eradicate the i)rejudices of tlie Romans, 
who still considered the marriages of cousins*german as a species of impeifect 
incest (Augustiu de Civitate Dei, xv. 6); and Julian, whose mind was biased by 
superstition and resentment, stigmatizes these unnatural alliances between his 
own cousins with the opprobrious epithet of yafxiof re ov yafxiov (Orat. vii. p. 228). 
The jurisprudence of the canons has since revived and enforced this prohibition, 
without being able to introduce it either into the civil or the common law of 
Europe. See on the subject of these marriages, Taylor's Civil Law, p. 331. Brouer 
de Jure Connub. 1. ii. c. 12. Herieourt des Loix Ecclesiastiques part iii. c. 5- 
rieury, Institutions du Droit Canonique, torn. i. p. 331. Paris, 1TG7, and Fra Taolo, 
Istoria del Concilio Trident. 1- viii. 



* The authority of Philostorgius. is so suspicious, as not to be sufficient to es- 
tablish this fact, which Gibbon has inserted in his history as certain, while in the 
note he appears to doubt it.— G. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 93 

counsels of his ministers, and the irresistible violence of the 
troops, had extorted from his unexperienced youth.^^ 

The massacre of the Flavian race was succeeded by a new 
division of tlie provinces ; which was ratified in a personal 
interview of the three brotliers. Constantine, the eldest of 
the Caisars, obtained, with a certain preeminence of rank, tlie 
possession of the new capital, which bore his own name and 
that of his father. Thrace, and the countries of the East, 
were alloted for tlie patrimony of Constantius ; and Constans 
was acknowledged as the lawful sovereign of Italy, Africa, 
and the Western Illyricum. The armies submitted to their 
hereditary right ; and they condescended, after some delay, 
to accept from the Roman senate the title of Augustus. 
When they first assumed the reins of government, the eldest 
of these princes was twenty-one, the second twenty, and the 
third only seventeen, years of age.^^ 

While the martial nations of Europe followed the stand- 
ards of his brothers, Constantius, at the head of the effem- 
inate troops of Asia, was left to sustain the weight of the 
Persian war. At the decease of Constantine, the throne 
of the East was filled by Sapor, son of Hormouz, or Ilor- 
misdas, and grandson of Narses, who, after the victory of 
Galerius, had humbly confessed the superiority of the Roman 
power. Although Sapor was in the thirtieth year of his long 
reign, he was still in the vigor of youth, as the date of his 
accession, by a very strange fatality, had preceded that of 
his birth. The wife of Plormouz remained pregnant at the 
time of her husband's death ; and the uncertainty of the sex, 
as well as of the event excited the ambitious hopes of the 
princes of the house of Sassan. The apprehensions of civil 
war were at length removed, by the positive assurance of the 
Magi, that the widow of Hormouz had conceived, and would 
safely produce a son. Obedient to the voice of superstition, 
the Persians prepared, without delay, the ceremony of his 
coronation. A royal bed, on which the queen lay in state, 
was exhibited in the midst of the palace ; the diadem was 

*2 Julian (ad S. P. Q. Athen. p. 270) charges his cousin Constantius with the 
whole guilt of a massacre, from which he himself so narrowly escaped. His as- 
sertion is contirmed by Athanasius, who, tor reasons of a very tlillerent nature, 
was not less an enemy of Constantius (tom. i. p. «5l)). Zosimus joins in the same 
accu-;atioii. But the three abbreviaLors, Eutropius and the Victors, use very quali- 
fying expressions . " siuente potius quam jubente; " " mcertuni quo suasore ; " 
*' VI militum." 

'">■'• Euseb. In Vit. Constantin. 1. iv. c. 69. Zosimus, 1. ii. p. 117. Tdat. in Chron. 
See two notes of Tillemont, Hist, des Empereurs. lorn. iv. pp. 10)5(3-1091. The 
reign of the eldest brother at Constantinople is noticed only in the Alexandrian 
Chronicle. 



94 TFIE DECLINE AXD FALL 

placed on the spot, wliicli might be supposed to conceal the 
future heir of Artaxerxes, and the prostrate satraps adored 
the majesty of their invisible and insensible sovereign. ^^ If 
any credit can be given to this marvellous tale, which seems, 
however, to be countenanced by the manners of the people, 
and by the extraordmary duration of his reign, we must 
admire not only the fortune, but the genius, of Sapor. In 
tlie soft, sequestered education of a Persian harem, the royal 
3'outh could discover the importance of exercising the A'igor 
of his mind and body; and, by his personal merit, deserved 
a throne, on which he had been seated, while he was yet 
unconscious of the duties and temptations of absolute power. 
His minoi'ity was exposed to tlie almost inevitable calamities 
of domestic discord ; his capital was surprised and plundered 
by Thair, a poAverful king of Yemen, or Arabia ; and the 
majesty of the royal family was degraded by the captivity of 
a princess, the sister of the deceased king. But as soon as 
Sapor attained the age of manhood, the presumptuous Thair, 
his nation, and his country, fell beneath the first effort of the 
young warrior ; who used his victory with so judicious a 
mixture of rigor and clemency, that he obtained from the 
fears and gratitude of the Arabs the title of Dhoxdacnaf^ or 
protector of the nation. ^^ 

The ambition of the Persian, to whom his enemies ascribe 
the virtues of a soldier and a statesman, was animated by 
the desire of revenging the disgrace of his fathers, and of 
wresting from the hands of the Romans the five provinces 
beyond the Tigris. The military fame of Constantine, and 
the real or apparent strength of his government, suspended 
the attack; and while the hostile conduct of Sapor provoked 
the resentment, his artful negotiations amused the patience 
of the Imperial court. The death of Constantine was the 

54 Agathias, who lived in the sixth century, is the author of this story (1. iv. p. 
135, edit. Louvre). He derived his iutormation from some extracts of the Persian 
Chronicles, obtained and translated by the interpreter Sergius, during liis em- 
bassy at that court. The coronation of the mother of Sapor is likewise men- 
tioned by Schikard (Tarikh. p. 116), and D'Herbelot (Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 
763.) * 

^'•> D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 764- t 



* The author of the Zenut-ul-Tarikh states that the lady herself affirmed her 
belief of this from the extraordinary liveliness of the infant, and its lying on the 
right side. Tho.ie who are sage on such subjects must determine what right she 
had to be positive from these symptoms. IMak-olm, Hist, of Persia, i. 83. — ]\L 

t Gibbon, according to Sir J. Malcolm, has greatly mistaken the derivation of 
this name ; it means Zoolaktaf, the Lord of the Shoulders, from his directing the 
shoulders of his captives to be pierced and then dislocated by a string passed 
through them. Eastern autliors are agreed with respect to the origin of this title. 
Malcolm, i. 84. Gibbon took his derivation from D'Herbelot, who gives both, the 
Jatter on the authority of the Leb. Tarikh.— M. 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. 95 

signal of war,^^ and llie actual condition of the Syrian and 
Armenian frontier seemed to encourage the Persians by the 
prospect of a rich spoil and an easy conquest. The ex- 
amj)le of the massacres of the palace diffused a spirit of 
licentiousness and sedition among the troops of the East, who 
were no longer restrained by their habits of obedience to a 
veteran commander. By the prudence of Constantius, who, 
from the interview with his brothers in Pannonia, imme- 
diately hastened to the banks of the Euphrates, the legions 
•were gradually restored to a sense of duty and discipline; 
but the season of anarchy had permitted Sapor to form the 
siege of Nisibis, and to occupy several of the most impor- 
tant fortresses of Mesopotamia.^' In Armenia, the renowned 
Tiridates had long enjoyed the peace and glory which he 
deserved by his valor and fidelity to the cause of Rome.f 
The firm alliance which he maintained with Constantine was 
productive of spiritual as well as of temporal benefits; by 
the conversion of Tiridates, the character of a saint was 
applied to that of a hero, the Christian faith was preached and 
established from the Eu])hrates to the shores of the Caspian, 
and Armenia was attached to the empire by the double ties 
of policy and religion. But as many of the Armenian nobles 
still refused to abandon the plurality of their gods and of 
their wives, the public tranquillity was disturbed by a a dis- 
contented faction, which insulted the feeble age of their 
sovereign, and impatiently expected the hour of his death. 
He died at length after a reign of fifty-six years, and the 
fortune of the Armenian monarchy expired with Tiridates. 
His lawful heir was driven into exile, the Christian priests 
were either murdered or expelled from their churches, the 
barbarous tribes of Albania were solicited to descend from 
their mountains ; and two of the most powerful governors, 
usurping the ensigns or the powers of royalty, implored the 

^ Sextus Rufus (c. 2G), who on this occasion is no contemptible authority, 
affirms, that the Persians sued in vain for peace, and that Con?iantine was pre- 
paring to march against them: yet the superior weight of the testimony of Euse- 
bius ol)liges us to admit the preliminaries, if not the ratitication, of the treaty. 
See Tillemont. Hist, des Empereurs, torn. iv. p. 420.* 

s? Julian. Orat. i. p. 20. 



* Constantine had endeavored to allay the fury of the persecutions, which, at 
the instigation of tlie Magi and tlie Jews, Sapor had commenced against the 
Christians. Euseb. Vit. Hist. Theod. i. 25. Sozom. ii. c. 8, 15. — M. 

t Tiridates had sustauied a war against Maximin, caused by the hatred of the 
latter against Christianity. Arn)enia was the tirst nation which embraced Chris- 
tianity. About the year 27G it was the religion of the king, the nobles, and the 
people of Armenia. From St. Martin, Supplemoit to Le Beau, v. i. p. 78. Com- 
pare Preface to History of Vartan, by Professor Neumann, p. ix.— M. 



96 THE DECLIXE AXD FALL 

assistance of Sapor, and opened the gates of their cities to the 
Persian garrisons. The Christian party, under the guid- 
ance of tlie Archbishop of Artaxata, the immediate succes- 
sor of St. Gregory the Illuminator, liad recourse to the 
piety of Constantius. After the troubles liad continued 
about three years^ Antiochus, one of the officers of the 
household, executed Avith success the Imperial commission 
of restoring Chosroes,* the son of Tiridates, to the tlirone 
of his fathers, of distributing honors and rewards among the 
faithful servants of the house of Arsaces, and of j)roclaim- 
ing a general amnesty, Avhich was accepted by the greater 
part of the rebellious satraps. But the Romans derived 
more honor than advantacfe from this revolution. Chosroes 
was a prince of a puny stature and a pusillanimous spirit. 
Unequal to the fatigues of war, averse to the society of 
mankind, he withdrew from his capital to a retired palace, 
which he built on the banks of the River Eleutherus, and 
in the centre of a shady grove ; where he consumed his va- 
cant hours in the rural sports of hunting and hawking. To 
secure this inglorious ease, he submitted to the conditions of 
peace which Sapor condescended to impose ; the payment 
of an annual tribute, and the restitution of the fertile 
province of Atropatene, which the courage of Tiridates, 
and the victorious arms of Galerius, had : n lexed to the 
Armenian monarchy.^^ 

58 Julian. Orat. i. pp. 20, 21. Moses of Chorene, 1. ii. c. 89, 1. iii. c. 1-9, pp. 22f>- 
240, The perfect agreement between the vague hints of the contemporary orator, 
and the circumstantial narrative of the national historian, gives light to the for- 



* Chosroes was restored probably by Licinius, between 314 and 319. There was an 
Antiochus who was prasfectus vigilum at Rome, as appears from the Theodosiau 
Code (1. iii. de inf. Iiis quie sub ty.), in 326, and from a fragment of the same work 
published by M. Amedee Peyron, in 319. He may before this have been sent into 
Armenia. St. M. p. 407. [Is it not more probable that Antiochus was an officer 
in the service of the Caesar who ruled in the East? — M.] Chosroes was succeeded 
in the year 322 by his son Diran. Diran was a weak prince, and in the sixteenth 
year of his reign, A. D. 337, was betrayed into the power of the Persians, by the 
treachery of his chamberlain and the Persian governor of Atropatene or Ader- 
bidjan. He was blinded : his wife and his son Arsaces shared his captivity, but 
the princes and nobles of Armenia claimed the protection of Rome ; and this was 
the cause of Coiistautine's declaration of war against the Persians.— The king of 
Persia attempted to make himself master of Armenia ; but the brave resistance 
of the people, the advance of Constantius, and a defeat which his army suffered 
at Oskha in Armenia, and the failure before Nisibis, forced Shahpour to submit 
to terms of peace. Varaz-Shahpour, the perfidious governor of Atropatene, was 
flayed alive ; Diran and his son were released from captivity ; Diran refused to 
ascend the throne, and retired to an obscure retreat: his son Arsaces was crowned 
king of Armenia. Arsaces pursued a vacillating policy between the influence of 
Rome and Persia, and the war recommenced in the year 345. At least, that was 
the period of the expedition of Constantius to the East. See St. Martin, addi- 
tions to Le Beau, i. 442. The Persians have m?.de an extraordinary romance out 
of the history of Shahpour, who went as a spy to Constantinople, was taken, har- 
nessed like a horse, and carried to witness the devastation of his kingdom. Mai' 
colm, i. 84.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 97 

During the long period of the reign of Constantius, the 
provinces of the East were afflicted by the calamities of the 
Persian war.f The irregular incursions of the light troops 
altern'ately spread terror and devastation beyond the Tigris 
and beyond the Euphrates, from the gates of Ctesiphon to 
those of Antioch; and this active service .was performed by 
the Arabs of the desert, who were divided in their interest 
and affections ; some of their independent chiefs being en- 
listed in the party of Sapor, whilst others had engaged their 
doubtful fidelity to the emperor/^ Tlie more grave and im- 
portant operations of the war were conducted with equal 
vigor ; and the armies of Rome and Persia encountered each 
other in nine bloody fields, in two of which Constantius him- 
self commanded in person.^^ The event of the day was most 

mer, and weight to tlie latter. For the ci-edit of Moses, it may be likewise 
observed, that the name of Antiochus is found a few years before in a civil office 
of Inferior dignity. See Godefroy, Cod. Theod. torn. vi. p. 1^50.* 

&'•' Ammianus {xiv. 4) gives a lively description of the wandering and predatory 
life of the Saracens, who stretched from the confines of Assyria to the cataracts 
of the Nile. It appears from the adventures of Malchus, which Jerom has re- 
lated in so entertaining a manner, that the high road between Beraea and Edessa 
was infested by these robbers. See Hieronym. tom. i. p. 256, 

•-♦^ We shall take from Eutropius the general idea of the war (x. 10). A Persig 
enim multa et gravia perpessus, s:epe cai)ti.s oppidis, obsessis urbibus, caesis ex- 
ercitibus, nullumque ei contra Saporem prosperum pra.dium fuit, nisi quod apud 
Singaram, &c- This honest account is confirmed by the hints of Ammianus, 
Rufus, and Jerom. The two first oiations of Julian, and the third oration of 
Libanius, exhibit a more flattering picture ; but the recantation of both those 
orators, after the death of Constantius, while it restores us to the possession of 
the truth, degrades their own character, and that of the emperor. The Com- 

* Gibbon has endeavored, in liis History, to make use of the information fur- 
nished by Moses of Chorene, the only Armenian historian then translated into 
Latin. Gibbon has not perceived all the chronological difficulties which occur 
i) I the narrative of that writer. He has not thought of all the critical discussions 
M hich his text ought to undergo before it can be combined with the relations of 
the western writeis. From want of this attention, Gibbon has made the facts 
which he has drawn from this source more erroneous than tliey are in the orig- 
inal. This judgment applies to all which the English historian has derived from 
the Armenian author. 1 have made the History of Moses a subject of particular 
attention ; and it is with confidence that I olfer the results, which I insert here, 
and which will appear in the course of my notes. In order to form a judgment 
of the difference which exists between me and Gibbon, I will content myself 
with remarking, that throughout he has committed an anachronism of thirty 
years, from whence it follows, that he assigns to the reign of Constantius many 
events which took place during that of Constantine. He could not, therefore, 
discern the true connection which exists between the Roman history and that of 
Armenia, or form a correct notion of the reasons which induced Constantine, at 
the close of his life, to make war upon the Persians, or of the motives which de- 
tained Constantius so long in the East; he does not even mention them. St. 
Martin, note on Le Beau, i. 40G. I have inserted M. St. Martin's observations, 
but I must add, that the chronology which lie proposes, is not generally received 
by Armeiiiau scholars, not, I believe, by Professor Neumann. — M. 

t It was during this war that a bold flatterer (whose name is unknown) pub- 
lished the Itineraries of Alexander and Trajan, i.i order to direct the victorious 
Constantius in the footsteps of those great conquerors of the East. The former 
of these has been published for tlie first time by M. Angelo Mai (Milan. 1817, re- 
printed at Frankfort, 1818). It adds so little to our knowledge of Alexander's 
campaigns, that it only excites our regret that it is iiot the itinerary of Trajan, 
of whose eastern victories we have no distinct record.— M. 

Vol. II.~7 



98 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

commonly adverse to the Romans, but in the battle of Sin- 
gara, their imprudent valor had almost achieved a signal 
and decisive victory. The stationary troops of Singara * 
retired on the approach of Sapor, who i:)assed the Tigris over 
three bridges, and occupied near the village of llilleh an 
advantageous caiijp, which, by the labor of his numerous 
pioneers, he surrounded in one day with a deep ditch and a 
lofty rampart. His formidable host, when it was drawn out 
in order of battle, covered the banks of the river, the ad- 
jacent heights, and the whole extent of a plain of above 
twelve miles, which separated the two armies. Both were 
alike impatient to engage ; but the Barbarians, after a slight 
resistance, fled in disorder ; unable to resist, or desirous to 
weary, the strength of the heavy legions, who, fainting with 
heat and thirst, pursued them across the plain, and cut in 
pieces a line of cavalry, clothed in complete armor, which 
had been posted before the gates of the camp to protect 
their retreat. Constantius, who was hurried along in the 
pursuit, attempted, without effect, to restrain the ardor of 
his troops, by representing to them the dangers of the ap- 
proaching night, and the certainty of completing their suc- 
cess with the re'turn of day. As they depended much more 
on their own valor than on the experience or the abilities of 
their chief, they silenced by their clamors his timid remon- 
strances, and rushing with fury to the charge, filled up the 
ditch, broke down the rampart, and dispersed themselves 
throuijh the tents to recruit their exhausted streno-th, and to 
enjoy the rich harvest of their labors. But the prudent 
Sapor had watched the moment of victory. His army, of 
which the greater part, securely posted on the heights, had 
been spectators of the action, advanced in silence, and under 
the shadow of the night ; and his Persian archers, guided 
by the illumination of the camp, poured a shower of arrows 
on a disarmed and licentious crowd. The sincerity of his- 
tory ^^ declares that the Romans were vanquished with a 

mentary of Spanheim on the first oration of Julian is profupely learned. See 

likewise the judicious observations of Tiilemont, Hist, des Empereurs, torn. iv. 

^. 656. 

•' vW AcerriniS. noetuniA, concertatione pugnatum est, nostrorum copiis ingenti 

^tragit^ pojif ossis. Ammian. xviii. 6. See likewise Eutropius, x. 10, and S. liulus, 

c.27t. 



* Now Sin jar, on the Uiyer Chnboras.— ]\I. 

t The Persian historiauji, pr romancers, do not mention the battle of Singara, 
but make the captive Shahpour escApe, defeat, and take prisoner ilie Koman em- 
peror. The Roman captives were forped to repsur all the raviiges they had com- 
mitted, even to replanting the smallest tlQ&§- Malcolm, i. b5.— JNI. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 99 

dreadful slaughter, and that the flying remnant of the legions 
was exposed to the most intolerable hardships. Even the 
tenderness of panegyric, confessing that the glory of the 
emj^eror was sullied by the disobedience of his soldiers, 
chooses to draw a veil over the circumstances of this melan- 
choly retreat. Yet one of those venal orators, so jealous of 
the fame of Constantius, relates, with amazing coolness, an 
act of such incredible cruelty, as, in the judgment of poster- 
ity, must imprint a far deeper stain on the honor of the Im- 
perial name. The son of Sapor, the heir of his crown, had 
been made a captive in the Persian camp. The unhappy 
youth, who might have excited the compassion of the most 
savage enemy, was scourged, tortured, and i^ublicly executed 
by the inhuman Romans. ^^ 

Whatever advantages might attend the arras of Sapor in 
the field, though nine repeated victories diffused among the 
nations the fame of his valor and conduct, he could not hope 
to succeed in the execution of his designs, while the fortified 
towns of Mesopotamia, and, above all, the strong and ancient 
city of Nisibis, remained in the possession of the Romans. 
In the space of twelve years, Nisibis, which, since the time 
of LucuUus, had been deservedly esteemed' the bulwark of 
the East, sustained three memorable sieges against the power 
of Sapor ; and the disappointed monarch, after urging his 
attacks above sixty, eighty, and a hundred days, was thrice 
repulsed with loss and ignominy.^" This large and populous 
city was situate about two days' journey from the Tigris, in 
the midst of a pleasant and fertile plain at the foot of Mount 
Masius. A treble enclosure of brick walls was defended by 
a deep ditch; ^^ and the intrepid resistance of Count Lucili- 
anus, and his garrison, was seconded by the desperate cour- 
age of the people. The citizens of Nisibis were animated by 
the exhortations of their bishop,^^ inured to arms by the 

<^2 Lihanius, Orat. iii. p. 133, with Julian. Orat. i. p. 24, and Spanlieinrs Com- 
mentary, p. 179. 

^ See Julian. Orat. i. p. 27, Orat. ii. p. 62, &c., with the Commenfavy of Span- 
heim (pp. 188-202), who illustrates the ciicuinstances, and ascertains the time of 
the ihiee sieges of Nisibis. Their dates are likewise examine<l by Tillemont 
(Hist, des Empereurs, torn. iv. pp. 668, 671, 674). Something is added from Zosi- 
mus, 1. iii. p. ir>l, and the Alexandrine Chronicle, p. 290. 

^ Sall.ist. Fragment. Ixxxiv. edit. Browses, and Plutarch in Lucull. torn. iii. p. 
184. Nisibis is now reduced to one hundred and fifty houses ; the marshy lands 
produce rice, and the fertile meadows, as far as Mosul and the Tigris, are cov- 
ered with the ruins of towns and villages. See Niebuhr, Voyages, torn. ii. pp. 
30(K!09. 

•^ The miracles which Theodoret (1. ii. c. 30) ascribes to St. James, Bisliop of 
Edessa, were at least performed in a worthy cause, the defence of his country. 
He appeared on the walls un<ler the figure of the Roman emperor, and sent an 
army of gnats to sting the trunks of the elephants, and to discomfit the host of 
the new Sennacherib. 



100 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

presence of clanger, and convinced of the intentions of Sapor 
to plant a Persian colony in their room, and to lead them 
away into distant and barbarons captivity. The event of 
the two former sieges elated their confidence, and exasper- 
ated the haughty spirit of the Great King, who advanced 
a third time towards Nisibis, at the head of the united forces 
of Persia and India. The ordinary machines, invented to 
/batter or undermine the walls, were rendered ineffectual by 
the superior skill of the Romans ; and many days had vainly 
elapsed, when Sapor embraced a resolution worthy of an 
eastern monarch, who believed that the elements themselves 
were subject to his power. At the stated season of the 
melting of the snows in Armenia, the River Mygdonius, 
-which divides the plain and the city of Nisibis, forms, like 
the Nile,^® an inundation over the adjacent Country. By 
the labor of the Persians, the course of the river was stop- 
ped below the town, and the waters were confined on every 
side by solid mounds of earth. On this artificial lake, a fleet 
of armed vessels filled with soldiers, and with engines which 
discharged stones of five hundred pounds weight, advanced 
in order of battle, and engaged, almost upon a level, the 
troops which defended the ramparts.* The irresistible force 
of the w^aters was alternately fatal to the contending parties, 
till at length a portion of the walls, unable to sustain the 
accumulated pressure, gave way at once, and exposed an 
ample breach of one hundred and fifty feet. The Persians 
were instantly driven to the assault, and the fate of Nisibis 
depended on the event of the day. The heavy-armed cav- 
alry, who led the van of a deep column, were embarrassed 
in the mud, and great numbers were droAvned in the unseen 
holes which had been filled by the rushing waters. The 
elephants, made furious by their wounds, increased the dis- 
order, and trampled down thousands of the Persian archers. 
The Great King, who, from an exalted throne, beheld the 
misfortunes of his arms, sounded, with reluctant indignation, 

65 Julian. Orat. i. p. 27. Though Niebuhr (torn. ii. p. 307) allows a ven' con- 
siderable swell to the Mygdonius, over which he saw a bridge of tirr/re arches ; 
it is difiicult, however, to understand this parallel of a trifling rivulet with a 
mighty river. There are many circumstances obscure, and almost unintelligible, 
in the'descriiJtion of these stupendous water-works. 



* Macdonald K'^nier observes on these floating batteries, " As the elevation 
of place is considerably above the level of the country in its intmeuiate vici)iity, 
and the Mygdonius is a very insignificant stream, it is dithcult to imagine how 
this woiit could have been accomplished, even witli the wonderful resources 
which the king must have had at his disposal." Geographical Memoir, p. 
262.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 101 

the signal of the retreat, and suspended for some hours the 
prosecution of the attack. But the vigilant citizens im- 
proved the opportunity of the niglit ; and the return of day- 
discovered a new wall of six feet in height, rising every mo- 
ment to fill up the interval of the breach. Notwithstanding 
the disappointment of his hopes, and the loss of more than 
twenty thousand men, Sapor still pressed the reduction of 
Nisibis, with an obstinate firmness, which could have yielded 
only to the necessity of defending the easXern provinces of 
Persia ao-ainst a formidable invasion of the Massasretge.^"^ 
Alarmed by this intelligence, he hastily relinquished the 
siege, and marched with rapid diligence from the banks of 
the Tigris to those of the Oxus. The danger and diflicul- 
ties of the Scythian war engaged him soon afterwards to 
conclude, or at least to observe, a truce with the Roman 
emperor, which was equally grateful to both princes ; as 
Constantius himself, after the death of his two brothers, was 
involved, by the revolutions of the West, in a civil contest, 
which required and seemed to exceed the most vigorous ex- 
ertion of his undivided strenofth. 

After the partition of the empire, three years had scarce- 
ly elapsed before the sons of Constantine seemed impatient 
to convince mankind that they were incapable of contenting 
themselves Math the dominions which they were unqualified 
to govern. The eldest of those princes soon complained, 
that he was defrauded of his just proportion of the spoils of 
their murdered kinsmen ; and though he might yield to the 
superior guilt and merit of Constantius, he exacted from 
Constans the cession of the African provinces, as an equiva- 
lent for the rich countries of Macedonia and Greece, which 
his brother had acquired by the death of Dalmatius. The 
want of sincerity, which Constantine experienced in a tedi- 
ous and fruitless negotiation, exasperated the fierceness of 
his temper; and he eagerly listened to those favorites, who 
suggested to him that his honor, as well as his interest, was 
concerned in the prosecution of the quarrel. At the head 
of a tumultuary band, suited for ra])ine rather than for con- 
quest, he suddenly broke into the dominions of Constans, by 
the way of the Julian Alps, and the country round Aquileia 
felt the first effects of his resentment. The measures of 
Constans, who then resided in Dacia, were directed with 

57 We are obliged to Zonaras (torn. ii. 1. xiii. p. 11). for this invasion of the 
Massageta\ wliich is perfectly consistent with tlie general series of events, to 
which we are darkly led by the broken history of Ammianus. 



102 THE DECLIXE AND FALL 

more pruflcnce and ability. On the news of his brother's 
invasion, lie detached a select and disci]jlined body of his 
Illyrian troops, proposing to follow them in person, with tlie 
remainder of his forces. But tlie conduct of his lieutenants 
soon terminated the mmatural contest. By the artful ap- 
pearances of lli.2:ht, Constantine was betrayed into an ambus- 
cade, which had been concealed in a wood, where the rash 
youth, with a few attendants, was surprised, surrounded, 
and slain. His body, after it had been found in the obscure 
stream of the Alsa, obtained the honors of an Imperial 
sepulchre; but his provinces transferred their allegiance to 
the conqueror, who, refusing to admit his elder brother 
Constantius to any share in these new acquisitions, main- 
tained the undisputed possession of more than two-thirds of 
the Roman empire.'^^ 

The fate of Constans himself was delayed about ten 
years longer, and the revenge of his brother's death was 
reserved for the more ignoble liand of a domestic traitor. 
The pernicious tendency of the system introduced by Con- 
stantine was displayed in the feeble administration of his 
sons ; who, by their vices and weakness, soon lost the esteem 
and affections of their people. The pride assumed by 
Constans, from the unmerited success of his arms, was ren- 
dered more contemptible by his want of abilities and appli- 
cation. His fond partiality towards some German captives, 
distinguished only by the charms of youth, was an object of 
scandal to the people ; ^^ and Magnentius, an ambitious sol- 
dier, who was himself of Barbarian extraction, was encour- 
aged by the public discontent to assert the honor of the 
Roman name."'^ The chosen bands of Jovians and Hercu- 
lians, who acknowledged Magnentius as their leader, main- 
tained the most respectable and important station in the 
Imperial camp. The friendship of Marcellinus, count of the 

63 The causes and the events of this civil war are related with much perplexity 
and contradiction. I have chiefly followed Zonaras and the younger Victor. 
The monody (ad Calcem Eutrop. edit. Havercamp.) pronounced on the death of 
Constantine, nu'^ht have been very instructive ; but prudence and false taste en- 
gaged the orator to involve himself in vague declamation. 

*jJ Quarum {(/eiiJtum) obsides pretio quiesitos pue'os venustiores quod cul- 
tius liabueiat libidine hujusmodi arsisse pro certo habetur. Had not the do-' 
praved taste of Constans been publicly avowed, the elder Victor, wlio lield a con- 
siderable office m his brother's reign, would not have asserted it in Buch positive 
terms. 

'" Julian. Orat, i. and ti. Zosiin. 1. ii. p. 134. Victor in Epitome. There is 
reason to believe that Magnentius was born in one of tliose Barbarian colonies 
which Constantius Chlorus ha<l establishetl in Gaul (see this Ilisloiy, vol. i. p. 
414). His behavior may remind us of the patriot earl of Leicester, the famous 
Simon de Montfort, who could persuade the good people of England, that he, a 
Frenchman by birth, had tJilceu arms to deliver them from foreign favoriteB. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 103 

sacred largesses, supplied with a liberal hand the means of 
seduction. The soldiers were convinced by the most 
specious arguments, that the republic summoned them to 
break the bonds of hereditary servitude ; and, by the choice 
of an active and vigilant prince, to reward the same virtues 
which had raised the ancestors of the degenerate Constans 
from a private condition to the throne of the world. As 
soon as the conspiracy was ripe for execution, Marcellinus, 
under the pretence of celebrating his son's birthday, gave a 
splendid entertainment to the illustrious and honorable per- 
sons of the court of Gaul, which then resided in the city of 
Autun. The intemperance of the feast was artfully pro- 
tracted till a very late hour of the night ; and the unsus- 
pecting guests were tempted to indulge themselves in a 
dangerous and guilty freedom of conversation. On a sudden 
the doors were thrown open, and Magnentius, who had 
retired for a few moments, returned into the apartment, 
invested with the diadem and purple. The conspirators 
instantly saluted him with the titles of Augustus and Em- 
peror. The surprise, the terror, the intoxication, the ambi- 
tious hopes, and the mutual ignorance of the rest of the 
assembly, prompted them to join their voices to the general 
acclamation. The guards hastened to take the oath of 
fidelity ; the gates of the town were shut ; and before the 
dawn of day, Magnentius became master of the troops and 
treasure of the palace and city of Autun. By his secrecy 
and diligence he entertained some hopes of surprising the 
person of Constans, who was pursuing in the adjacent forest 
his favorite amusement of hunting, or perhaps some pleas- 
ures of a more private and criminal nature. The rapid 
progress of fame allowed him, however, an instant for flight, 
though the desertion of his soldiers and subjects deprived 
him of the power of resistance. Before he could reach a 
seaport in Spain, where he intended to embark, he was over- 
taken near Plelena,'^ at the foot of the Pyrenees, by a party 
of light cavalry, whose chief, regardless of the sanctity of a 
tem])le, executed his commission by the murder of the son 
of Constantine.'^ 

71 This ancient city had once flourished under the name of Illiberis. (Pom- 
ponius Mela, ii. 5.) The munilicence of Constautine gave it new splendor, and 
his mother's name. Helena (it is still called Elne) became the seat of a bishop, 
who long afterwards transferred his residence to Perpignan, the capital of 
modern Rousillon. See D'Anville, Notice de I'Ancienne Gaule, p. 380. Lon- 
guerue, Description de la France, p. 223, and the Marca Hispanica, 1. i. c. 2. 

" Zosimus, 1. ii. pp. 119, 120. Zonaras, torn. ii. 1. xiii. p. 13, and the Abbre- 
viators. 



104 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

As soon as the death of Constans had decided this easy 
but important revolution, the example of the court of Autun 
Avas imitated by the provinces of the West. The authority 
of Magnentius was acknowledged through the whole extent 
of the two great prasfectures of Gaul and Italy ; and the 
usurper prepared, by every act of oppression, to collect a 
treasure which niisfht discharije the obligration of an immense 
donative, and supply the expenses of a civil war. The mar- 
tial countries of Illyricum, from the Danube to the extremity 
of Greece, had long obeyed the government of Yetranio, an 
aged general, beloved for the simplicity of his manners, and 
who had acquired some reputation by his experience and 
services in war."^^ Attached by habit, by duty, and bv grat- 
itude, to the house of Constantine, he immediately gave ♦he 
strongest assurances to the only surviving son of his late 
master, that he would expose, with unshaken fidelity, his 
person and his troops, to inflict a just revenge on the traitors 
of Gaul. But the legions of Vetranio Avere seduced, rather 
than provoked, by the example of rebellion ; their leader 
soon-betrayed a want of firmness, or a w^ant of sincerity ; 
and his ambition derived a speciou^pretence from the appro- 
bation of the princess Constantina. That cruel and aspiring 
woman, who had obtained from the great Constantine, her 
father, the rank of Augusta, placed the diadem with her 
own hands on the head of the Illyrian general ; and seemed 
to expect from his victory the accomplishment of those un- 
bounded hopes, of which she had been disappointed by the 
death of her husband Hannibalianus. Perhaps it Avas Avith- 
out the consent of Constantina, that the ncAV emperor formed 
a necessary, though dishonorable, alliance with the usurper 
of the West, Avhose purple Avas so recently stained Avith her 
brother's bloodJ* 

The intelligence of these important CA^ents, which so deeply 
affected the honor and safety of the Imperial house, recalled 
the arms of Constantius from the inglorious prosecution of 
the Persian Avar. Pie recommended the care of the East to 
his lieutenants, and afterwards to his cousin Gallus, Avhom 
he raised from a prison to a throne ; and marched toAvards 
Europe, Avith a mind agitated by the conflict of hope and 

' 73 Eutropius (x. 10) describes A'etranio with more temper, and probably with 
more truth, than eithei- of the two Alienors. A'etranio was born of obscure par- 
ents in the wildest parts of Mjesia ; and so much had his education been ne- 
glected, that, after his elevation, he studied the alphabet. 

^< The doubtful, fluctuating conduct of A^etranio is described by Julian in his 
first oration, and accurately explained by Spanheira, who aiscusses the situation 
and behavior of Constantina. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 105 

fear, of grief and indignation. On his arrival at Heraclea 
in Thrace, the emperor gave audience to the ambassadors 
of Magnentius and Yetranio. The first author of the con- 
spiracy, Marcellinus, who in some measure had bestowed the 
purple on his new master, bohlly accepted this dangerous 
commission ; and Iiis three colleagues were selected from 
the illustrious personages of the state and army. Thesa 
deputies were instructed to soothe the resentment, and to 
alarm the fears, of Constantius. They were empowered 
to offer him the friendship and alliance of the western 
princes, to cement their union by a double marriage ; of Con- 
stantius Avith the daughter of Magnentius, and of Magnentius 
himself with the ambitious Constantina ; and to acknowledge 
in the treaty the preeminence of rank, which might justly 
be claimed by the emperor of the East. Should pride and 
mistaken piety urge him to refuse these equitable conditions, 
the ambassadors were ordered to expatiate on the inevitable 
ruin Avhich must attend his rashness, if he ventured to provoke 
the sovereigns of the West to exert their superior strength ; 
and to employ against him that valor, those abilities, and those 
legions, to which the house of Constantine had been indebted 
for so many triumphs. Such propositions and such argu- 
ments appeared to deserve the most serious attention ; the 
answer of Constantius was deferred till the next day ; and 
as he had reflected on the importance of justifying a civil 
war in the opinion of the people, he thus addressed his 
council, who listened with real or affected credulity : "Last 
night," said he, " after I retired to re'st, the shade of the 
great Constantine, embracing the corpse of my murdered 
brother, rose before my eyes ; his well-known voice awakened 
me to revenge, forbade me to despair of the republic, and 
assured me of the success and immortal glory which would 
crown the justice of my arms." The authority of such a 
vision, or rather of the prince who alleged it, silenced every 
doubt, and excluded all negotiation. The ignominious 
terms of peace were rejected with disdain. One of the am- 
bassadors of the tyrant was dismissed with the haughty 
answer of Constantius; his colleagues, as unworthy of the 
law of nations, were put in irons; and the contending 
powers prepared to wage an implacable war.''^ 

Such was the conduct, and such perhaps was the duty, of 
the brother of Constans towards the perfidious usurper of 
Gaul. The situation and character of Yetranio admitted of 

"5 See Peter the Patrician, in the Excerpta Legationum, p. 27. 



106 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

milder measures ; and the policy of the Eastern emperor 
was directed to disunite his antagonists, and to separate the 
forces of Illyricum from the cause of rel)ellion. It was an 
easy task to deceive the frankness and simplicity of Vetra- 
nio, who, fluctuating some time between the opposite views 
of honor and interest, displayed to the world the insincerity 
of his temper, and was insensibly engaged in the snares of 
an artful negotiation. Constantius acknowledged him as a 
legitimate and equal colleague in the empire, on condition 
that he would renounce his disgraceful alliance with Mag- 
nentius, and appoint a place of interview on the frontiers 
of their respective provinces ; where they might pledge 
their friendship by mutual vows of fidelity, and regulate by 
common consent the future operations of the civil war. In 
consequence of this agreement, Vetranio advanced to the 
city of Sardica,"^® at the head of twenty thousand horse, and 
of a more numerous body of infantry; a power so far su- 
perior to the forces of Constantius, that the Illyrian emperor 
appeared to command the life and fortunes of his rival, who, 
depending on the success of his private negotiations, had 
seduced the troops, and undermined the throne, of Vetranio. 
The chiefs, who had secretly embraced the party of Con- 
stantius, prepared in his favor a public spectacle, calcula- 
ted to discover and inflame the passions of the multitude.''^ 
The united armies were commanded to assemble in a large 
plain near the city. In the centre, according to the rules of 
ancient discipline, a military tribunal, or rather scaffold, 
was erected, from whence the emperors were accustomed, 
on solemn and important occasions, to harangue the troops. 
The well-ordered ranks of Ilomans and Barbarians, with 
drawn swords, or with erected spears, the squadrons of cav- 
alry, and tlie cohorts of infantry, distinguished by the variety 
of their arms and ensigns, formed an immense circle round 
the tribvmal; and the attentive silence Avhichthey preserved 
was sometimes interrupted by loud bursts of clamor or of 
applause. In the presence of this formidable assembly, the 
two emperors were called upon to explain the situation of 
public affairs : the precedency of rank was yielded to the 
royal birth of Constantius, and though he was indifferently 

T6 Zonaras, torn. ii. 1. xiii. p. 16. The position of Sardica, near the modern city 
of Sophia, appears better suited to this interview than tlie situation of either 
Naissus or Sirmium, where it is placed by Jeroni, Socrates, and Sozonien. 

7' See the two first orations of Julian, particularly p. ;U ; and Zosinuip, 1. ii. 
p. 122. The distinct narrative of the historian serves to illustrate the dilfuse but 
vague descriptions of the orator. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 107 

skilled in the arts of rhetoric, lie acquitted himself, under 
these difficult circumstances, with firmness, dexterity, and 
eloquence. The first part of his oration seemed to be pointed 
only against the tyrant of Gaul; but while he tragically 
lamented the cruel murder of Constans, he insinuated, that 
none, except a brother, could claim a right to the succession 
of his brother. He displayed, with some complacency, the 
glories of his Imperial race ; and recalled to the memory of 
the troops the valor, the triumphs, the liberality of the great 
Constantine, to whose sons they had engaged their allegi- 
ance by an oath of fidelity, which the ingratitude of his 
most favored servants had tempted them to violate. The 
officers, who surrounded the tribunal, and were instructed 
to act their parts in this extraordinary scene, confessed the 
irresistible power of reason and eloquence, by saluting the 
emperor Constantius as their lawful sovereign. The conta- 
gion of loyalty and repentance w^as communicated from rank 
to rank ; till the plain of Sardica resounded with the universal 
acclamation of "Away with these upstai't usurpers! Long 
life and victory to the son of Constantine ! Under his ban- 
ners alone we will fight and conquer." The shout of thou- 
sands, their menacing gestures, the fierce clashing of their 
arms, astonished and subdued the courage of Yetranio, who 
stood, amidst the defection of his followers, in anxious and 
silent suspense. Instead of embracing the last refuge of 
generous despair, he tamely submitted to his fate ; and taking 
the diadem from his head, in the view of both armies fell 
prostrate at the feet of his conqueror. Constantius used 
his victory with prudence and moderation ; and raising from 
the ground the aged suppliant, whom he affected to style by 
the endearing name of Father, he gave him his hand to de- 
scend from the throne. The city of Prusa was assigned for 
the exile or retirement of the abdicated monarch, who lived 
six years in the enjoyment of ease and affluence. He often 
expressed his grateful sense of the goodness of Constantius, 
and, with a very amiable simplicity, advised his benefactor 
to resign the sceptre of the world, and to seek for content 
(where alone it could be found) in the peaceful obscurity of 
a private condition.''^ 

The behavior of Constantius on this memorable occasion 
was celebrated with some appearance of justice ; and his 

TS The younger Victor assigns to his exile the emphatical appellation of " Vo- 
luptariani otiuin." Socrates (1. ii. c. 28) is the vouclier for the correspondence 
with the emperor, which would seem to prove that Vetrauio was, indeed, props 
ad stullitiam simplicissiinus. 



108 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

courtiers compared the studied orations which a Pericles or 
a Demosthenes addressed to the populace of Alliens, with 
the victcrious eloquence which had persuaded an armed 
multitude to desert and depose the object of their partial 
choice.'^ The approaching contest witli Magnentius was of 
a more serious and bloody kind. The tyrant advanced by 
rapid marches to encounter Constantius, at the liead of a 
numerous army, composed of Gauls and Spaniards, of 
Franks and Saxons ; of those provincials who supplied the 
strength of tlie legions, and of those barbarians who were 
dreaded as the most formidable enemies of the rei)ublic. 
The fertile plains ^^ of the Lower Pannonia, between the 
Drave, the Save, and the Danube, presented a spacious the- 
atre ; and the operations of the civil war were ])rotracted 
durmg the summer months by the skill or timidity of the 
combatants.^^ Constantius had declared his intention of 
deciding the quarrel in the fields of Cibalis, a name that 
would animate his troops by the remembrance of the victory, 
which, on the same auspicious ground, had been obtained 
by the arms of his father Constantine. Yet by the impreg- 
nable fortifications with which tlie emperor encompassed his 
camp, he appeared to decline, rather than to invite, a general 
engagement. It was the object of Magnentius to tempt or 
to compel his adversary to relinquish this advantageous 
position ; and he employed, with that view, the various 
marches, evolutions, and stratagems, which the knowledge 
of the art of war could suggest to an experienced officer. 
He carried by assault the important town of Siscia ; made 
an attack on the city of Sirmium, which lay in the rear of 
the Imperial camp : attempted to force a passage over the 
Save into the eastern provinces of Illyricum ; and cut in 
pieces a numerous detachment, which he had allured into 
the narrow passes of Adarne. During the greater part of 
summer, the tyrant of Gaul showed himself master of the 
field. The troops of Constantius were harassed and dis- 

"9 Eiim Constantius * * * * facundias vi dejectum Imperio in privatum otium 
removit. Quaj gloria post natum Imperium soli piocessit eloquio clenientia(iiie, 
&c. Aiirelius Victor, Julian, and TIiemisLiiis (Orat. iii. and iv.) adorn this ex- 
ploit with all the artificial and gaudy coloring of their rhetoric. 

*J Busbe luius (p. 112) traversed the Lower Hungary and Sclavonia at a time 
■when they were reduced almost to -i <leserl, by the reciproi^^al hostilities of the 
Turks and Christians. Yet he mentions with admiration ihe unconqueiable fer- 
tility of the soil ; and observes that the hcn^ht of the grass wa-; sallicieut to con- 
ceal a loaded wagou from bis sight. See likewise Browne's Travels, in Harris's 
Collection, vol. ii. p. 762, &c. 

81 Zosimus gives a very large account of the war, and the negotiation (1. ii. pp. 
123-130). But as he neither shows himself a soldier nor a polilician, Lis narrative 
must be weighed with attention, and received with caution. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 109 

pirited; his reputation declined in the eye of the world; 
and his pride condescended to solicit a treaty of peace, 
which would have resigned to the assassin of Constans the 
sovereignty of the provinces beyond the Alps. These offers 
Avere enforced by the eloquence of Philip the Imperial am- 
bassador; and the council as well as the array of Magnen- 
tuis were disposed to accept them. But the hauglity 
usurper, careless of the remonstrances of his friends, gave 
orders that Philip should be detained as a captive, or, at 
least, as a hostage ; while he despatched an officer to re- 
proach Constantius with the weakness of his reign, and to 
insult liim by the promise of a pardon if he would mstantly 
abdicate the purple. " That he should confide in the justice 
of his cause, and the protection of an avenging Deity," was 
the only answer which honor permitted the emperor to re- 
turn. But he was so sensible of the difficulties of his situa- 
tion, that he no longer dared to retaliate the indignity which 
had been offered to his representative. The negotiation of 
Philip was not, however, ineffectual, since he determined 
Sylvanus the Frank, a general of merit and reputation, to 
desert with a considerable body of cavalry, a few days 
before the battle of Mursa. 

The city of Mursa, or Essek, celebrated in modern times 
for a bridge of boats, five miles in length, over the River 
Drave, and the adjacent morasses,^^ has been always con- 
sidered as a place of importance in the wars of Hungary. 
Magnentius, directing his march towards Mursa, set fire to 
the gates, and, by a sudden assault, had almost scaled the 
walls of the town. The vigilance of the garrison extin- 
guished the flames ; the approach of Constantius left him 
no time to continue the operations of the siege; and the 
emperor soon removed the only obstacle that could em- 
barrass his motions, by forcing a body of troops which had 
taken post in an adjoining amphitheatre. The field of bat- 
tle round Mursa Avas a naked and level plain : on this 
ground the army of Constantius formed, with the Drave on 
their right ; while their left, either from the nature of their 
disposition, or from the superiority of their cavalry, ex- 
tended far beyond the right flank of Magnentius. ^^ The 

82 This remarkable bridge, which is flanked with towers, and supported on 
large wooden piles, was constructed A. D. 15()<>, by Sultan Solinian, to facilitate 
the march of his armies into Hungary. See Browne's Travels, and Busching's 
System of Geography, vol. ii. p. 90. 

^ This position, and the subsequent evolutions, are clearly, though concisely, 
described by Julian, Orat. i. p. 30. 



110 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

troops on both sifles remained under arms, in anxious ex- 
pectation dni-ii!)[r tlie greatest part of tlie morning; and the 
son of Constniitiiie. after animating his soldiers by an elo- 
qnent speecli, i ircd into a church at some distance from 
the fieKl of battle, and committed to his generals the con- 
duct of this decisive day.^* They deserved his confidence 
by the valor and military skill which they exerted. They 
wisely began the action npon the left ; and advancing their 
wdiole wing of cavalry in an oblique line, they suddenly 
wheeled it on the right flank of the enemy, which was un- 
prepared to resist the impetuosity of their charge. Bat the 
Romans of the West soon rallied, by the habits of dis- 
cipline ; and the Barbarians of Germany supported the 
renown of their national bravery. The engagement soon 
became general ; was maintained with various and singular 
turns of fortune ; and scarcely ended with the darkness of 
the night. The signal victory which Constantius obtained 
is attributed to the arms of his cavalry. His cuirassiers are 
described as so many massy statues of steel, glittering with 
their scaly armor, and breaking with their ponderous lances 
the firm array of the Gallic legions. As soon as the legions 
gave way, the lighter and more active squadrons of the 
second line rode sword in hand into the intervals, and com- 
pleted the disorder. In the mean while, the huge bodies of 
the Germans were exposed almost naked to the dexterity of 
the Oriental archers ; and whole troops of those Barbarians 
were urged by anguish and despair to precipitate them- 
selves into the broad and rapid stream of the Drave.^^ The 
number of the slain was computed at fifty-four thousand 
men, and the slaughter of the conquerors was more consider- 
able than that ot the vanquished ; ^^ a circumstance which 
proves the obstinacy of the contest, and justifies the obser- 

84 Sulpicius Severus, 1. ii. p. 405. The emperor passed the day in prayer with 
Viileiis, the Ariaii bishop of Mursa, who gained his conhdence by aniioimciug the 
Bucce.-s of the battle. M. de Tillenioiit (Hist, dcs Kinperours, torn. iv. p. 1110) 
very pioperly rennarks the silence of Julian with regard to the ])ersonal prowei-s 
of Constantius in the battle of Mursa. The silence of flattery is sometimes equal 
to the most positive and authentic evidence. 

^ Juliiui Orat. i. pp. 36, 37 ; and Orat. ii. pp. 59, 60. Zonaras, torn, ii, 1. xiii. p. 
17. Zosimus, 1. ii. pp. 130-1.33. The last of iliese celebrates the dexterity of Iho 
archer Menelans, who could discharge three arrows at the same time ; an advan- 
tage which, according to his apprehension of military allairs, materially con- 
tributed to tlie victory of Constantius. 

«'' According lo Zonaras, Cousiantius, out of 80.000 men, lost 30.000 ; and Mag- 
nentins lost 24,000 out of 36,000. 'Jlie other articles of this account seem prob- 
able and authentic, but the numbers of the tyrant's army must have been mis- 
taken, either by the author or his transcribers Magnentius liad <ollecte<l the 
whob; force of tlie West, Romans and P>arbarians, into one formidable body, 
which cannot fairly be estimated at less than 100,000 men. Julian, Orat. i. pp. 
34, 25. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. Ill 

vation of an ancient writer, that the forces of the empire 
were consumed in the fatal battle of Mursa, by the loss of a 
veteran army, sufficient to defend the frontiers, or to add 
new triumphs to the glory of Rome.^' Notwithstanding 
the invectives of a servile orator, there is not the least 
reason to believe that the tyrant deserted his own standard 
in the beginning of the engagement. He seems to have 
displayed the virtues of a general and of a soldier till the 
day was irrecoverably lost, and his camp in the possession 
of the enemy. Magnentius then consulted his safety, and 
throwing away the Imperial ornaments, escaped with some 
difficulty from the pursuit of the light horse, who incessantly 
followed his rapid flight from the banks of the Drave to the 
foot of the Julian Alps.^^ 

The approach of winter supplied the indolence of Con- 
stantius with specious reasons for deferring the prosecution 
of the war till the ensuing spring. Magnentius had fixed his 
residence in the city of Aquileia, and showed a seeming reso- 
lution to dispute the passage of the mountains and morasses 
which fortified the confines of the Venetian province. The 
surprisal of a castle in the Alps by the secret march of the Im- 
perialists, could scarcely have determined him to relinquish 
the possession of Italy, if the inclinations of the people had 
supported the cause of their tyrant.^^ But the memory of the 
cruelties exercised by his ministers, after the ViU successful 
revolt of Nepotian, had left a deep impression of horror and 
resentment on the minds of the Romans. That rash youth, 
the son of the princess Eutropia, and the nephew of Con- 
stantine, had seen with indignation the sceptre of the West 
usurped by a perfidious barbarian. Arming a desperate 
troop of slaves and gladiators, he overpowered the feeble 
guard of the domestic tranquillity of Rome, received the 
homage of the senate, and assuming the title of Augustus, 
precariously reigned during a tumult of twenty-eight days. 
The march of some regular forces put an end to his ambi- 
tious hopes : the rebellion was extinguished in the blood of 

87 Ingentes R. I. vires eS, dimicatione coiisumptae sunt, ad qupelibet bella ex- 
terna idonea3, qujB multum triumphoruni possent securitati.sque conferre. Eu- 
tropius, X. 13. The younger Victor expresses himself to the same effect. 

'^^ On this occasion, we must prefer the unsuspected testimony of Zosimus and 
Zonaras to the liatteriny assertions of Julian. The younj:^er Victor paints the 
character of Magnentius in a singular light : " S'^rmonis acer. animi tumidi, et 
imtnodice timidus ; artifex tamen a<l occultandam audaciaj specie formidinem." 
Is it most likely that in the battle of Mursa his behavior was governed by nature 
or by art? I should incline for the latter. 

89 Julian. Orat. i. pp. 38, 39. In that place, however, as well as in Oration it. p. 
97, he insinuates the general disposition of the senate, the people, and the sol- 
diers of Italy, towards the party of the emperor. 



112 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Kepotian, of his mother Eutropia, and of his adlierents ; and 
the proscription was extended to all who had contracted a 
fatal alliance with the name and family of Constantine.^^ 
But as soon as Constantius, after the battle of Mursa, became 
master of the sea-coast of Dalmatia, a band of noble exiles, 
who had ventured to equip a fleet in some harbor of the 
Adriatic, sought protection and revenge in his victorious 
camp. By their secret intelligence with their countrymen, 
Rome and the Italian cities were persuaded to display the 
banners of Constantius on their walls. The grateful vet- 
erans, enriched by the liberality of the father, signalized their 
gratitude and loyalty to the son. The cavalry, the legions, 
and the auxiliaries of Italy, renewed their oath of allegiance 
to Constantius ; and the usurper, alarmed by the general 
desertion, was compelled, with the remains of his faithful 
troops, to retire beyond the Alps into the provinces of Gaul. 
The detachments, however, Avhich were ordered either to 
press or to intercept the flight of Magnentius, conducted 
themselves with the usual imprudence of success ; and al- 
lowed him, in the plains of Pavia, an opportunity of turning 
on his pursuers, and of gratifying his despair by the carnage 
of a useless victory .^^ 

The pride of Magnentius was reduced, by repeated misfor- 
tunes, to sue, and to sue in vain, for peace. He first despatched 
a senator, in whose abilities he confided, and afterwards several 
bishops, whose holy character might obtain a more favorable 
audience, with the offer of resigning the purple, and the 
promise of devoting the remainder of his life to the service 
of the emperor. But Constantius, though he granted fair 
terms of pardon and reconciliation to all who abandoned the 
standard of rebellion,®^ avoAved his inflexible resolution to 
inflict a just punishment on the crimes of an assassin, whom 
he prepared to overwhelm on every side by the effort of his 
victorious arms. An Imperial fleet acquired the easy pos- 
session of Africa and Spain, confirmed the wavering faith of 
the Moorish nations, and landed a considerable force, which 
passed the Pyrenees, and advanced towards Lyons, the last 

*> The elder Victor describes, in a pathetic manner, the miserable condition of 
"Rome : "Ciijus stolidum ingenium adeo P. 11. patribusque exitio fuit, uti passim 
domus, fora, viae, templaque, cruore, cadaveribusque opplerentur bustorum 
mode." Athanasius (torn. i. p. 677) deplores the fate of several illustrious victims, 
and Julian (Orat. ii p. 58) execrates the cruelty of Marcellinus, the implacable 
enemy of the house of Constantine. 

91 Zosim. 1. ii. p. 133. Victor in Epitome. The panegyrists of Constantius, with 
their usual candor, forget to mention this accidental defeat. 

92 Zonaras, tom. ii. 1. xiii. p. 17. Julian, in several places of the two oratioii8y 
expatiates on the clemency of Constantius to the rebels. 



OF THE ROMAX EMPIRE. 113 

and fatal station of Magnentius,®^ Tlio temper of the tyrant, 
which was never inclined to clemency, was urged by distress 
to exercise every act of oppression which could extort an 
immediate supply from the cities of Gaul.^* Their patience 
was at length exhausted ; and Treves, the seat of Praetorian 
government, gave the signal of revolt, by shutting her gates 
against Decentius, who had been raised by his brother to the 
rank either of Caesar or of Augustus.*^ From Treves, De- 
centius was obliged to retire to Sens, where he was soon sur- 
rounded by an army of Germans, whom the pernicious arts 
of Constantius had introduced into the civil dissensions of 
Rome.^^ In the mean time, the Imperial troops forced the 
passages of the Cottian Alps, and in the bloody combat of 
Mount Seleucus irrevocably fixed the title of rebels on the 
party of Magnentius.^' He was unable to bring another 
army into the field ; the fidelity of his guards was corrupted ; 
and when he appeared in public to animate them hj his ex- 
hortations, he was saluted with a unanimous shout of " Long 
live the emperor Constantius ! " The tyrant, who perceived 
that they were preparing to deserve pardon and rewards by 
the sacrifice of the most obnoxious criminal, prevented their 
design by falling on his sword; ^^ a death more easy and 
more honorable than he could hope to obtain from the hands 
of an enemy, whose revenge would have been colored with 

93 Zosim. 1. ii. p. 133- Julian. Orat. i, p. 40, ii. p. 74. 

*^ Ammiaii. XV. 6. Zosiiu. 1. ii. p. V23. Julian, who (Orat i. p. 40) iiiveighs 
against the cruel effects of the tyrant's despair, mentions (Orat. i. p. 34) the op- 
pressive edicts which were dictated by his necessities, or by his avarice. His sub- 
jects were compelled to purchase the Imperial demesnes ; a doubtful and dan- 
gerous species of property, which, in case of a revolution, might be imputed to 
them as a treasonable usurpation. 

9^ The medals of Maguentius celebi-ate the victories of the fwo Augusti, and 
of the Casar. The Caesar was another brother, named Desiderius. See Tille- 
mont, Hist, des Empereurs, torn, iv, p. 757. 

i«^ Julian Oi-at. i. p. 40, ii. p. 74; with Spanheim, p. 263. His Commentary 
illustrates the transactions of this civil war. Mens Seleuci was a small place in 
the Cottiau Alps, a few miles distant from Vapincum, or Gap, an episcopal city 
of Dauphine. See D'Anville, Notice de la Gaule, p. 464 ; and Longuerue, De- 
ecription de la France, p. 327.* 

«' Zosimus, 1. ii. p. 134. Liban, Orat. x. pp. 268, 269. The latter most vehe- 
mently arraigns this cruel and selfish policy of Constantius. 

y^ Julian. Orat. i- p. 40. Zosimus, 1. ii. p. 1.34. Socrates. 1. ii. c. 32. Sozomen, 
I. iv. c. 7. The younger Victor describes his death with some horrid circum- 
stances : Transfosso latere, ut erat vasti corporis, vulnere naribusque et ore cru- 
orem efTundens, exspiravit. If we can give credit to Zonaras, the tyrant, before 
he expired, had the pleasure of murdering, with his own hand, his mother and 
his brother Desiderius. 



* The Itinerary of Antoninus (p. 357, ed. Wess.) places Mons Seleucus twenty- 
four miles from Vapinicum (Gap), and twenty-six from Lucus (le Luc), on the 
road to Die (Dea Vocontiorum). The situation answers to Mont Saleon, a little 
place on the right of the small river Buech, which falls into the Durance, 
itoman antiquities have been found in thia pla<;e. St. Martin. Note to Le Beau, 
ii. 47.— M. 

Vol. II.— 8 



114 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the specious pretence of justice and fraternal piety. The 
example of suicide was imitated by Decentius, who strangled 
himself on the news of his brother's death. Tlie author of 
the conspiracy, Marcellinus, had long since disappeared in 
the battle of Mursa,^^ and the public tranquillity was con- 
firmed by the execution of the surviving leaders of a guilty 
and unsuccessful faction. A severe inquisition was extended 
overall who, either from choice or from compulsion, had 
been involved in the cause of rebellion. Paul, surnamed 
Catena from his superior skill in the judicial exercise of 
tyranny,* was sent to explore the latent remains of the con- 
spiracy in the remote province of Britain. The honest in- 
dignation expressed by Martin, vice-prsefect of the island, 
was interpreted as an evidence of his own guilt; and the 
governor was urged to the necessity of turning against his 
breast the sword with which he had been provoked to 
wound the Imperial minister. The most innocent subjects 
of the West were exposed to exile and confiscation, to death 
and torture ; and as the timid are always cruel, the mind of 
Constantius was inaccessible to mercy.^'*^ 

^ Julian (Orat. i. pp. 58, 59) seems at a loss to determine, whether he inflicted 
on himself the punishment of his crimes, whether he was drowned in the Brave, 
or whether he was carried by the avenging diemous from the field of battle to his 
destined place of eternal tortures. 

100 Ammian. xiv. 5, xxi. IG. 



* This is scarcely correct, ut erat in complicandis negotiis artifex dirus, unde 
ei Cateuie iuditumest cognomeutum. Amm. Mar. loc. cit.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 115 



CHAPTER XIX. 

COXSTANTIUS SOLE EMPEROR. — ELEVATION AND DEATH OF 

GALLUS. DANGER AND ELEVATION OP JULIAN. SARMA- 

TIAN AND PERSIAN WARS. VICTORIES OF JULIAN IN 

GAUL. 

The divided provinces of the empire were again united 
by tlie victory of Coiistantius ; but as that feeble prince 
was destitute of personal merit, either in peace or war ; as 
he feared his generals, and distrusted his ministers; the 
triumph of liis arms served only to establish the reign of the 
eunuchs over the Roman world. Those unhap])y beings, 
the ancient production of Oriental jealousy and despotism/ 
were introduced into Greece and Rome by the contagion of 
Asiatic luxury.- Their progress was rapid ; and tlie eunuchs, 
who, in the time of Augustus, had been abhorred, as the 
mbnstrous retinue of an Egyptian queen,^ were gradually 
admitted into the families of matrons, of senators, and of 
the emperors themselves.^ Restrained by the severe edicts 
of Domitian and Nerva,^ cherished by the jjride of Diocle- 

^ Ammianus(L 'fiv. c. 6) imputes the first practice of castration to the cruel 
ingenuity of Seniiraniis, who is supposed to have rei<^ne(l above nineteen liun- 
dred years before Christ. Tlie use of eunuchs is of hiu;h antiipiity, both in 
Asia and Egypt. Tliey are mentioned in the law of Moses, Deuterou. xxiii. 1. 
See Goguet, Origiues des Loix, &c., Part i. 1. i. c. 3. 

Eunuchum dixti velle te ; 

Quia solas utuntur his regina; 

Terent. Eunuch, act i. scene 2. 

This play is translated from Menander, and the original must have appeared 
soon after the eastern conquests of Alexander. 

Miles spadonibus 

Servire rugosis potest. 

Horat. Carm. v. 9, and Dacier ad loc. 
By the word aparJo, the Romans very forcibly expressed their abhorrence of 
this mutilated condition. The Greek appellation of eunuchs, which insensibly 
prevailed, had a milder sound, and a more ambiguous sense. 

■* We need only mention Po>^id(>s, a freedman and eunuch of Claudius, in 
whose favor the emi>eror prostituted some of the most honorable rewards of 
military valor. See Sueton. in Claudio, c. 2S. Posides employed a great part of 
his wealth iu building. 

Ut Spado vincebat Capitolia nostra Resides. 

Juvenal. Sat. xiv. 

6 Castrari mares vetuit. Sueton. iu Domitian. c. 7. See Dion Cassius, 1. Ixvii. 
p. 1107, 1. Ixviii. p. 1119. 



116 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

tian, reduced to an humble station by the prudence of Con- 
stantine,^ they multiplied in the palaces of his degenerate 
sons, and insensibly acquired the knowledge, and at length 
the direction, of the secret councils of Constantius. The 
aversion and contempt which n\ankind has so uniformly 
entertained for that imperfect species, appears to have 
degraded their character, and to have rendered llicni almost 
as incapable as they were supj)Osed to be, of conceiving any 
generous sentiment, or of ])erforming any worthy action.^ 
But the eunuchs were skilled in the arts of iiattery and 
intrigue ; and they alternately governed the mind of Con- 
stantius by his fears, his indolence, and his vanity.^ Whilst 
he viewed in a deceitful mirror the fair appearance of jmblic 
pros23erity, he supinely permitted them to intercei)t the 
complaints of the injured provinces, to accumulate immense 
treasures by the sale of justice and of honors ; to disgrace 
the most important dignities, by the promotion of those who 
had purchased at their hands the powers of oppression,^ and 
to gratify their resentment against the few independent 
spirits, who arrogantly refused to solicit the protection of 
slaves. Of these slaves the most distinguislicd was the 
cbamberlain Eusebius, who ruled the monarch and the 
palace with such absolute sway, that Constantius, according 
to the sarcasm of an impartial historian, possessed some 
credit with this haughty favorite.^^ By his artful sugges- 

6 There is a passage in the Augustan History, p. 137, in which Lampridius, 
wiiilst he praises Alexander Severus and Constantine for restraining tlie tyranny 
of the eunuchs, deplores the mischiefs which they occasioned in otlver reigns. 
Hue accedit quod eunuchos nee in consiliis nee in ministeriis habuit ; qui soli 
principes perdunt, dum eos more gentium aut regum Persarum volunt vivere ; 
qui a populo etiaiu amicissinium semovent; qui internuntii sunt, aliud quam 
respondetur, referentes ; claudentes principem suum, et agentes ante omnia Jie 
quid sciat. 

' Xenoplion (Cyropaedia, 1. viii. p. 540) has stated the specious reasons which 
engaged Cyrus to intrust his person to tlie guard of eunuchs. He had observed 
in animals, that although the practice of castration might tame their ungovern- 
able fierceness, it did not diminish tlieir strength or spirit ; and he persuaded 
himself, that those who were separated from the rest of human kind, would be 
more firmly attaclied to the person of their benefactor. But a long experience 
has contradicted the judgment of Cyrus. Some particular instances may occur 
of eunuchs distinguished by their fidelity, their valor, and their abilities ; but if 
we examine the general history of Persia, India, and Cbina, we shall find that 
the power of the eunuchs has uniformly marlced the decline and fall of every 
dynasty. 

8 See Ammianus Marcellinus, 1. xxi. c. 16. 1. xxii. c. 4. The whole tenor of 
his impartial history serves to justify the invectives of INlamcrtinus. of Libanius, 
and of Julian himself, who have insulted the vices of the court of Constiintius. 

^Aurelius Victor censures the negligence of his sovereign in clioosing the 
governors of the provinces, and the generals of the army, and concludes his his- 
tory with a very bold observation, as it is muoli more dangerous under a feeble 
reign to attack the ministers than the master himself. •' Uti verum absolvam 
brevi, ut Imperatore ipso clarius ita apparitorum plerisque magis atrox nibil." 

1" Apud quem (si vere dici debeat) multum Constantius potuit. Ammian. 1, 
xviii. c. 4. * 



OF THE ROMAN EMriRE. 117 

tions, the emperor was persuaded to subscribe the condem- 
nation of the unfortunate GaUus, and to add a new crime to 
the long list of unnatural murders which pollute the honor 
of the house of Constantine. 

When the two nephews of Constantine, Gallus and 
Julian, were saved from the fury of the soldiers, the former 
was about twelve, and the latter about six, years of age ; 
and, as the eldest was thought to be of a sickly constitution, 
they obtained with the less difficulty a precarious and 
dependent life, from the affected pity of Constantius, who 
was sensible that the execution of these helpless orphans 
would have been esteemed, by all mankind, an act of the 
most deliberate cruelty.^^ * Different cities of Ionia and 
Bithynia were assigned for the places of their exile and 
education ; but as soon as their growing years excited the 
jealousy of the emperor, he judged it more prudent to 
secure those unhappy youths in the strong castle of Macel- 
lum, near Caesarea. The treatment which they experienced 
during a six years' confinement, was partly such as they 
could hope from a careful guardian, and partly such as they 
might dread from a suspicious tyrant. ^'^ Their prison was 
an ancient palace, the residence of the kings of Cappadocia; 
the situation was pleasant, the building stately, the enclosure 
spacious. They pursued their studies, and practiced their 
exercises, under the tuition of the most skilful masters ; and 
the numerous household appointed to attend, or rather to 
guard, the nephews of Constantine, was not unworthy of 
the dignity of their birth. But they could not disguise to 
themselves that they were deprived of fortune, of freedom, 
and of safety ; secluded from the society of all whom they 
could trust or esteem, and condemned to pass their melan- 
choly hours in t1ie company of slaves devoted to the com- 
mands of a tyrant who had already injured them beyond 

11 Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. iii. p. 90) reproaches the apostate with his iiigrat- 
jtiide towards Mark, bishop of Arethusa, who liad contribute<l to save liis life ; 
and we learn, though from a less respectable authority (Tillemont, Hist, dos Em- 
poreurs, torn. iv. p. 910), that Julian was concealed in the sanctuary of a 
church. 

1- The most authentic account of the education and adventures of Julian is 
contained in the epistle or manifesto which he himself addressed to the Senate 
and i)eople of Athens. Libanius (Orat. Parentalis), on the side of the Pagans, 
and Socrates (l.^^iii. c. 1), on that of the Christians, have preserved several inter- 
esting circumstances. 



* Gallus and Julian were not sons of the same mother. Their father, Juliua 
Constantius, had had Gallus by his first wife, named Galla ; Julian was the son 
of Basilina, w horn he had espoused in a second marriage. Tillemont, Hist, des 
Enip. Vie de Constantin. art. 3.— G. 



118 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the hope of reconciliation. At length, hoa^ever, the emer- 
gencies of the state compelled the emperor, or rather his 
eunuchs, to invest Gallus, in the twenty-fifth year of his 
age, with the title of Caesar, and to cement this political 
connection by his marriage with princess Constantina. 
After a formal interview, in which the two princes mutu- 
ally engaged their faith never to undertake anything to the 
prejudice of each other, they repaired without delay to their 
respective stations. Constantius continued his march towards 
the West, and Gallus fixed his residence at Antioch ; from 
whence, Avith a delegated authority, he administered the five 
great dioceses of the eastern praefecture.^^ In this fortunate 
change, the new Cagsar was not unmindful of his brother 
Julian, who obtained the honors of his rank, the appear- 
ances of liberty, and the restitution of an ample patri- 
mony.^* 

The writers the most indulgent to the memory of Gallus, 
and even Julian himself, though he wished to cast a veil 
over the frailties of his brother, are obliged to confess that 
the Ca3sar was incapable of reigning. Transported from a 
prison to a throne, he possessed neither genius nor applica- 
tion, nor docility to compensate for the want of knowledge 
and experience. A temper naturally morose and violent, 
instead of being corrected, was soured by solitude and 
adversity ; the remembrance of what he had endured dis- 
posed him to retaliation rather than to sympathy ; and the 
ungoverned sallies of his rage were often fatal to those who 
approached his person, or were subject to his power.^^ 
Constantina, his wife, is described, not as a woman, but as 
one of the infernal furies tormented with an insatiate thirst 
of human blood.-^*^ Instead of employing her influence to 

13 For the promolion of Gallus, see Idatins, Zo.umus. aiul the two Victors. 
According to Philostorgius (1. iv. c. 1), Tlieophilus, aii Ariaii bishop, was the wit- 
ness, and, as it were, the guarantee of this solemn engageineiit. He supported 
that chaiactei' with generous liriniiess ; Init ]\T. de 'i'illeiiiont (Hist, dos JOmper- 
eurs, torn. iv. p. 1120) thinks it very improbable that a heretic should have pos- 
sessed such virtue. 

!•* Julian was at first permitted to pursue his studies at Constantinople, but 
the reputation which he acquired soon excited the jealousy of Constantius ; and 
the young prince was advised to withdraw himself to the lets con.-picuous scenes 
of Bithynia and Ionia. 

^■> See fJulian. ad S. P. Q. A. p. 271. Jerom. in Chron. Aurelius Victor, Eutro- 
pius, X. 11. I shall copy the words of Eutropius, who wrote his abridgment 
about tifteen years after the death of Gallus, wlicn there was no ]o;iger any 
mo' it'o either to flatter or to depreciate his character. " ]\Iulti»incivilibns ges- 
tis (iallus C.ifsar * * * vir natura ferox et ad tyrannidcm pronior, si sno jure im- 
perare licuiss-^t." 

'*> MegiBra qiisedem mortalis. inflammatrix sa^vientis assidua, humani cruovis 
avida, <fv:c. Ammian. Marcellin. ). xiv. c. 1. The sincerity of Ammiantis would 
not suffer him to misrepresent fa<-ts oi- characters, but his love of ambifinus orna- 
ments frequently betrayed hiui into an unnatural vehemence of expression. 



OF THE ROMAIC EMPIRE. 119 

insinuate the mild counsels of prudence and humanity, she 
exasperated the fierce passions of her husband ; and as she 
retained the vanity, though she had renounced the gentle- 
ness, of her sex, a pearl necklace was esteemed an equiva- 
lent price for the murder of an innocent and virtuous noble- 
man. ^"^ The cruelty of Gallus was sometimes displayed in 
the undissembled violence of popular or military executions ; 
and was sometimes disguised by the abuse of law, and the 
forms of judicial proceedings. The private houses of Anti- 
och, and the places of public resort, were besieged by spies 
and informers ; and the Caesar himself, concealed in a ])le- 
beian habit, very frequently condescended to assume that 
odious character. Every apartment of the palace was 
adorned with tlie instruments of death and torture, and a 
general consternation was diffused through the capital of 
Syria. The prince of the East, as if he had been conscious 
how much he had to fear, and how little he deserved to 
reign, selected for the objects of his resentment the provin- 
cials accused of some imaginary treason, and his own 
courtiers, whom with more reason he susj^ected of incen- 
sing, by their secret correspondence, the timid and suspicious 
mind of Constantius. But he forgot that he was depriving 
himself of his only support, the affection of the ]:)eople ; 
whilst he furnished the malice of his enemies witli tlie arms 
of truth, and afforded the emperor the fairest pretence of 
exacting the forfeit of his purple, and of his life.^^ 

As long as the civil war sus])ended the fate of the 
Roman world, Constantius dissembled his knowledge of the 
weak and cruel administration to which his choice had 
subjected the East ; and the discovery of some assassins, 
secretly des|)atched to Antioch by the tyrant of Gaul, was 
em|)loyed to convince the public, that tlie emperor and the 
Caesar were united by the same interest, and ])ursucd by 
the same enemies. ^'-^ But Avhen the victory was decided in 
favor of Constantius, liis dependent colleague became less 
useful and less formidable. Every circumstance oi his 

1' Ilis name was Clematiup of Alexandria, and his only crime was a refusal to 
gratify the desires of liis mother-in-law ; who solicited his death, because she had 
been disappointed of his love. Aniniiun. 1. xlv. c. i. 

^* See in Ammianns (1. xiv. c. 1, 7) a very ample detail of the cruelties of Gal- 
lus. His brother .fulian (p. 272) insinuates, that a secret coiispiracy had been 
formed against him ; a]!<l Zo'^imus names (1. ii. p. 1.3.")) the persons engaged in it ; 
a minister of considerable rank, and two obscure agents, who were resolved to 
make their fortune. 

i'-* Zonaras, 1. xiii. torn. ii. pp. 17, 18. The assassins had sed-Jced a great num- 
ber of legionaries ; but their designs were discovered and revealed by an old 
woman in whose cottage they lodged. 



120 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

conduct was severely and suspiciously examined, and it 
was privately resolved, either to deprive Gallus of the 
purple, or at least to remove him from the indolent luxury 
of Asia to the hardships and dangers of a German war. 
The death of Theophilus, consular of the province of Syria, 
who in a time of scarcity had been massacred by the people 
of Antioch, with the connivance, and almost at the instigation, 
of Gallus, was justly resented, not only as an act of wanton 
cruelty, but as a dangerous insult on the supreme majesty 
of Constantius. Two ministers of illustrious rank, Domitian 
the Oriental praefect, and 3Iontius, quoester of the palace, 
were empowered by a special commission* to visit and 
reform the state of the East. They were instructed to 
behave towards Gallus with moderation and respect, and, 
by the gentlest arts of persuasion, to engage him to comply 
with the invitation of his brother and colleague. The 
rashness of the pra3fect disappointed these prudent meas- 
ures, and hastened his own ruin, as well as that of his 
enemy. On his arrival at Antioch, Domitian passed dis- 
dainfully before the gates of the palace, and alleging a 
slight pretence of indisposition, continued several days in 
sullen retirement, to prepare an inflammatory memorial, 
which he transmitted to the Imperial court. Yielding at 
length to the pressing solicitations of Gallus, the praefect 
condescended to take his seat in council ; but his first step 
was to signify a concise and haughty mandate, importing 
that the Ccesar should immediately repair to Italy, and 
threatening that he himself would punish his delay or 
hesitation, by suspending the usual allowance of his house- 
hold. The nephew and daughter of Con^tantine, who 
could ill brook the insolence of a subject, expressed their 
resentment by instantly delivering Domitian to the custody 
of a guard. The quarrel still admitted of some temis of 
accommodation. They were rendered impracticable by the 
imprudent behavior of Montius, a statesman whose art and 
experience, were frequently betrayed by the levity of his 
disposition.-^ The quaestor reproached' Gallus in haughty 



i present text of Amniianus, we read Asper, Quidem, sed ad Joiifafcm 

; which forms a sentence of contradictory nonsense With the aid 

manuscript, Valesius Las rectilied the lirst of these cormptions, and 



20 In the 
propensior , 

of an old manuscript, \ aiesius juas rectiueii tne iirst or tiiese cormpiions, an 
we perceive a ray of light in the suhstitntion of the word rafcr. If w<> venture 
to change lenitatem into levitatem, this alteration of a single letter will render 
the whole passage clear and consistent. 



* The commission seems to liave been granted to Domitian alone. IVIontius 
interfered to support his authority. Amm. I\Iarc. loc. cit.— M. 



DF THE KOMAN^ EMPIRE. 121 

language, that a prince who was scarcely authorized to 
remove a municipal magistrate, should presume to imprison 
a Praetorian praefect ; convoked a meeting of the civil and 
military officers ; and required them, in the name of their 
sovereign, to defend the person and dignity of his repre- 
sentatives. By this rash declaration of war, the impatient 
temper of Gallus was provoked to embrace the most des- 
perate cojinsels. Pie ordered his guards to stand to their 
arms, assembled the populace of Antioch, and recommended 
to their zeal the care of his safety and revenge. His com- 
mands were too fatally obeyed. They rudely seized the 
pra^fect and the quaestor, and tying their legs together 
with ro]-)es, they dragged them through the streets of the 
city, inflicted a thousand insults and a thousand wounds 
on these unhappy victims, and at last precipitated their 
mangled and lifeless bodies into the stream of the Orontes.^^ 
After such a deed, whatever might have been the designs 
of Gallus, it was only in a field of battle that he could assert 
his innocence with any hope of success. But the mind of 
that prince was formed of an equal mixture of violence and 
weakness. Instead of assuming the title of Augustus, in- 
stead of employing in his defence the troops and treasures 
of the East, he suffered himself to be deceived by the 
affected tranquillity of Constantius, who, leaving him the 
vain pageanty of a court, imperceptibly recalled the veteran 
legions from the provinces of Asia. But as it still appeared 
dangerous to arrest Gallus in his capital, the slow and safer 
arts of dissimulation were practiced with success. The fre- 
quent and pressing epistles of Constantius were filled with 
professions of confidence and friendship ; exhorting the 
Caesar to discharge the duties of his high station, to relieve 
his colleague from a part of the public cares, and to assist 
the West by his presence, his counsels, and his arms. After 
so many reci])rocal injuries, Gallus had reason to fear and to 
distrust. But he had neglected the opportunities of flight 
and of resistance; he was seduced by the flattering assur- 
ances of the tribune Scudilo, who, under the semblance of 
a rough soldier, disguised the most artful insinuation ; and 
he depended on the credit of his wife Constantinn, till 
the unseasonable death of that princess completed the ruin 

21 Instead of being obliged to collect scattei-ed and imperfect liints from va- 
rious sources, we now em er into the full stream of the histOiy of .Vnimianus, 
and need only refer to the seventh and ninth chapters of liis fonrte(;nth book. 
Philostorgius, however (1. iii. c. 28), though partial to Gallus, should Jiot be en- 
tirely overlooked. 



122 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

ill wliich he had been involved by her imj^etuous pas- 



22 



sions. 

After a long delay, the reluctant Caesar set forwards on 
his journey to the Imperial court. From Antioch to Iladri- 
anople, he traversed the wide extent of his dominions with 
a numerous and stately train ; and as he labored to conceal 
liis apprehensions from the world, and perhaps from ]iim- 
self, he entertained the people of Constantinople with an 
exhibition of the games of the circus. The progress of the 
journey niiglit, however, have warned him of the impending 
danger. In all the principal cities he Avas met by ministers 
of confidence, commissioned to seize the offices of govern- 
ment, to observe his motions, and to prevent the hasty 
sallies of liis despair. Tlie persons despatched to secure 
the provinces Avhich he left behind, passed him with cold 
salutations, or affected disdain ; and the troops, whose sta- 
tion lay along the public road, were studiously removed on 
liis ajiproach, lest they miglit be tempted to offer their 
swords for the service of a civil war.-^ After Gallus liad 
been permitted to repose himself a few days at Iladrianople, 
he received a mandate, expressed in the most haughty and 
absolute style, that his splendid retinue should halt in that 
city, while the Caesar himself, Avith only ten post-carriages, 
sliould hasten to the Imperial residence at Milan. In this 
rapid journey, tlie profound respect Avhich was due to the 
brother and colleague of Constantius, Avas insensibly changed 
into rude familiarity ; and Gallus, Avho discovered in the 
countenances of the attendants that tliey already considered 
themselves as his guards, and might soon be employed as 
his executioners, began to accuse his fatal rashness, and to 
recollect, Avith teiror and remorse, tlie conduct by Avhich lie 
had provoked his fate. The dissimulation Avhich liad 
hitherto been preserved, Avas laid aside at Petovin,* in P;ui- 
nonia. He was conducted to a palace in the suburbs, Avhcre 
the general Barbatio, Avith a select band of soldiers, Avho 
could neither be moA^ed by pity, nor corrupted by rewards, 
expected the arrival of his illustrious victim. In the close 

" She had preceded her husband, but died of a fever on the road, at a little 
place ill Bilhyiiia, called Coeuuin Gallicamnn. 

'^ The Thebu'aii legions, whicli were then quartered at Iladrianople, sent a 
deputation to Gallus, with a tender of their services. Ammian. 1. xiv. c. 11. 
The Notitia (s. r.. 20, oS, edit. Labb.) mentions three several legions which boro 
the name of Thebiean. The zeal of IM. de A'oltair>> to destroy a despicable 
though celebrated legion, has tempted him on the slightest grounds to deny the 
exis:ence of a Tliebajan legioix in the Koman armies. See CEuvres de A'oltaire, 
torn. XV. p. 414, quarto ediiion. 



* Pcttau in Stvrla.— M. 



OF THE ROMAX EMPIRE. 123 

of the evening lie was arrested, ignoniinioiisly stripped of 
the ensigns of Caesar, and hurried away to Pola,* in Istria, 
a sequestered prison, wliich liad been so recently polluted 
with royal blood. The horror which he felt was soon in- 
creased by the appearance of his implacable enemy the 
eunuch Eusebius, who, with the assistance of a notary and a 
tribune, proceeded to interrogate him concerning the ad- 
ministration of the East. The Cassar sank under the weight 
of shame and guilt, confessed all the criminal actions and all 
the treasonable designs with which lie was charged ; and by 
imputing them to the advice of his wife, exasperated the 
indignation of Constantius, who reviewed with partial pre- 
judice the minutes of the examination. The emperor Avas 
easily convinced, that his own safety was incompatible with 
the life of his cousin : the sentence of death was signed, 
despatched, and executed ; and the nephew of Constantine, 
with his hands tied behind his back, Avas beheaded in prison 
like the vilest malefactor.^'* Those who are inclined to pal- 
liate the cruelties of Constantius, assert that he soon relented, 
and endeavored to recall the bloody mandate; but that tlie 
second messenger, intrusted with the reprieve, was detained 
by the eunuchs, Avho dreaded the unforgiving temper of 
Gallus, and were desirous of reuniting to their empire the 
wealthy provinces of the East.^^ 

Besides the reigning emperor, Julian alone survived, of 
all the numerous posterity of Constantius Chlorus. The 
misfortune of his roval birth involved him in the diso:race of 
Gallus. From his retirement in the happy country of Ionia, 
he Avas conveyed under a strong guard to the court of 
Milan ; where he languished above seven months, in the con- 
tinual dread of suffering the same ignominious death, Avhicli 
Avas daily inflicted, almost before his eyes, on the friends 
and adherents of his persecuted family. His looks, his ges- 
tures, his silence, Avere scrutinized Avith malignant curiosity, 
and he Avas perpetually assaulted by enemies Avhom he had 
never offended, and by arts to Avhich he was a stranger.^*'' 

S"* See the complete narrative of the journey and death of Gallus in Av^- 
mianus, 1. xiv. c. 11. Julian complains that his brother was put to dealh uiLh- 
outatrial ; attempts to juf^tify, or at least to excuse, the cruel revenge which he 
liad iiitlicted on his enemies ; hiit seems at last to acknowledge that he might 
justly have been deprived of the i)uri)lc. 

"5 Philostorjxius, 1. iv. c. 1, Zonaras, 1. xiii. tom. ii. p. 10. But the former was 
partial towards an Ariau monarcli, and the latter transcribed, v/ithout choice or 
criticism, whatever he found in the writings of the ancients. 

26 See Ammianus Marcellin. 1. xv. e. 1, .3, 8. Julian himself, in his epistle to 



♦ Rather to Flanonia, now Fianone, near Pola. St. ]Martin. — M. 



124 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

But in the school of adversity, Julian insensibly acquired 
the virtues of firmness and discretion. He defended liis 
honor, as Avell as his life, against the msnaring subtleties of 
the eunuchs, who endeavored to extort some declaration of 
his sentiments ; and whilst he cautiously suppressed his grief 
and resentment, he nobly disdained to flatter the tyrant, by 
any seeming approbation of his brother's murder. Julian 
most devoutly ascribes his miraculous deliverance to the 
protection of the gods, who had exempted his innocence 
from the sentence of destruction pronounced by their justice 
against the impious house of Constantine.^^ As the most 
effectual instrument of their providence, he gratefully ac- 
knowledges the steady and generous friendship of the em- 
j^ress Eusebia,^^ a woman of beauty and merit, who by the 
ascendant which she had gained over the mind of her hus- 
band, counterbalanced, in some measure, the powerful con- 
spiracy of the eunuchs. By the intercession of his patron- 
ess, Julian was admitted into the Imperial presence: he 
pleaded his cause with a decent freedom, he was heard with 
favor ; and, notwithstanding the efforts of his enemies, who 
urged the danger of sparing an avenger of the blood of 
Gallus, the milder sentiment of Eusebia prevailed in the 
council. But the effects of a second interview were dreaded 
by the eunuchs ; and Julian was advised to withdraw for a 
while into the neighborhood of Milan, till the emperor 
thought proper to assign the city of Athens for the place of 
his honorable exile. As he had discovered, from his earliest 
youth, a i^ropensity, or rather passion, for the language, the 
manners, the learning, and the religion of the Greeks, he 
obeyed with pleasure an order so agreeable to liis wishes. 
Far from the tumult of arms, and the treachery of courts, he 
spent six months amidst the groves of the academy, in a free 
intercourse Avith the philosophers of the age, who studied to 
cultivate the genius, to encourage the vanity, and to inflame 

the Athenians, draws a very lively and just picture of his own danger, and of his 
sentiments. He shows, however, a tendency to exaggerate his sulterings, by in- 
sinuating, though in obscure terms, that tliey lasted above a year; a period 
which cannot be reconciled with the truth of chronology. 

'^'^ Julian has worked the crimes and misfortunes of the family of Constan- 
tine into an allegorical fable which is happily conceived and agreeably related. 
It forms the conclusion of the seventh Oration, from whence it has been de- 
tached and translated by the Abbe de la Bleterie, Vie de Jovien, torn. ii. pp. 
385-408. 

23 She was a native of Thessalonica, in Macedonia, of a noble family, and the 
daugliter, as well as sister, of consuls. Her marriage with the einpt-ror may be 
placed in the year 352. In a divided age, the liistorians <^.f all parlies agree in 
her praises. Kee their testimonies collected by Tillemont, liiut. des EmpereurS; 
torn. iv. pp. 750-754. 



OF THE I10MA:N^ EMPIRE. 125 

the devotion of their royal pupil. Their labors were not 
unsuccessful ; and Julian inviolably preserved for Athens 
that tender regard wliich seldom fails to arise m a liberal 
mind, from the recollection of the place where it has discov- 
ered and exercised its growing powers. The gentleness and 
affability of manners, Avhich his temper suggested and his 
situation imposed, insensibly engaged the affections of the 
strangers, as well as citizens, with whom he conversed. 
Some of his fellow-students might perhaps examine his be- 
havior with an eye of prejudice and aversion; but Julian 
established, in the schools of Athens, a general prepossession 
in favor of his virtues and talents, which was soon diffused 
over the Roman world.^^ 

Whilst his hours were j^assed in studious retirement, the 
empress, resolute to achieve the generous design which she had 
undertaken, was not unmindful of the care of his fortune. 
The death of the late Caesar had left Constantius invested 
with the sole command, and oppressed by the accumulated 
weight of a mighty empire. Before the wounds of civil dis- 
cord could be healed, the provinces of Gaul were overwhelmed 
by a deluge of Barbarians. The Sarmatians no longer re- 
spected the barrier of the Danube. The impunity of ra23ine 
had increased the boldness and numbers of the wild Isaur- 
ians : those robbers descended from their craggy mountains 
to ravage the adjacent country, and had even presumed, 
though without success, to besiege the important city of 
Seleucia, which was defended by a garrison of three Roman 
legions. Above all, the Persian monarch, elated by victory, 
again threatened the peace of Asia, and the presence of the 
emperor was indispensably required, both in the West and 
in the East. For the first time, Constantius sincerely ac- 
knowledged, that his single strength was unequal to such an 
extent of care and of dominion. ^*^ Insensible to the voice of 
flattery, which assured him that his all-powerful virtue, and 
celestial fortune, would still continue to triumph over every 
obstacle, he listened with complacency to the advice of 
Eusebia, which gratified his indolence, without offending his 

29 Libanius and Gregory Nazianzen have exhausted the arts as well as the 
powers of their eloquence, to represent Julian as the first of lieroes, or the 
worst of tyrants, Gregory was his fellow-student at Athens ; and the symptoms 
which he so tragically describes, of the future wickedness of the apostate, amount 
only to some bodily imperfections, and to some peculiarities in his si)eeoh and 
manner. He protests, however, that he then foresaw and foretold the calam- 
ities of the church and state (Greg. Nazianzen, Orat. iv. pp. 121, 122). 

^'^ Succumbere tot neces^itatibus tamque crebris iinum se, quod nunquam 
fecerat, aperte demonstrans. Ammian. 1. xv. c. 8. He then exi^reEses, in their 
own worde, the nattering assurances of the courtiers. 



126 THE DECLINE AXD PALL 

suspicious pride. As she perceived that the remembrance of 
Gallus dwelt on the emperor's mind, she artfully turned liis 
attention to the opposite characters of the two brothers, whicli 
from tlieir infancy had been com])ared to those of Domitian 
and of Titus. ^^ She accustomed her husband to consider 
Julian as a youth of a mild, unambitious disposition, whose 
allegiance and gratitude might be secured by the gift of the 
purple, and who was qualified to fill with honor a subordinate 
station, without aspiring to dispute the commands, or to 
shade the glories, of his sovereign and benefactor. After an 
obstinate, though secret struggle, the opposition of the favor- 
ite eunuchs submitted to the ascendency of tlie empress ; and 
it was resolved that Julian, after celebrating his nuptials 
with Helena, sister of Constantius, should be appointed, with 
the title of CiBsar, to reign over the countries beyond the 
Alps.^^ 

Although the order which recalled liim to court was prob- 
ably accompanied by some intimation of his approaching 
greatness, he appeals to the people of Athens to witness his 
tears of undissembled sorrow, Avhen he was reluctantly torn 
away from his beloved retirement.^^ He trembled for his 
life, for his fame, and even for his virtue ; and his sole con- 
fidence was derived from the persuasion, that Minerva in- 
spired all his actions, and that he was protected by an invisible 
guard of angels, whom for that purpose she had borrowed 
from the Sun and Moon. He approached, with horror, the 
palace of Milan ; nor could the ingenuous youth conceal his 
indignation, when he found himself accosted with false and 
servile respect by the assassins of his family. Eusebia, re- 
joicing in the success of her benevolent schemes, embraced 
him with the tenderness of a sister ; and endeavored, by the 
most soothing caresses, to dispel his terrors, and reconcile 
him to his fortune. But the ceremony of shaving his beard, 
and his awkward demeanor, when he first exchanged the 
cloak of a Greek philosopher for the military habit of a 
Roman prince, amused, during a few days, the levity of the 
Imperial court.^"* 

31 Tantum a temperatis moribus Juliani dilTerens frntris quantum inter Ves- 
pasian! lilios fuit, I>onuliauum et Tituni. Ainniian. 1. xiv. c. 11. Tiie circum- 
stances and education of the two brotliers were so nearly the same, as to afford a 
strong example of the innate difference of characters. 

32 Ammianus, 1. xv. c. 8. Zo.^imus, 1. iii. pp. 137, 138. 

33 Julian, ad S. P. Q. A. pp. 275, 276. Libianius, Orat. x. p. 208. Julian did 
not yield till the gods had signified their will by repeated visions and omens. 
His piety then forbade him to resist. 

3^ Julian himself relates (p. 274), with some humor, the circumstances of his 
own metamorijhosis, his downcast looks, and his perplexity at being thus sud- 



OF THE ROMAISr EMPIRE. 127 

The emperors of the age of Constantine no longer deigned 
to consult with the senate in the choice of a colleague ; but 
they were anxious that their nomination should be ratified 
by the consent of the army. On this solemn occasion, the 
guards, Vvith the other troops whose stations were in the 
neighborhood of Milan, apjjeared under arms ; and Con- 
stantius ascended his lofty tribunal, holding by the hand his 
cousin Julian, who entered the same day into the twenty-fifth 
year of his age.^^ In a studied speecli, conceived and de- 
livered w^ith dignity, the emperor represented the various 
dangers which threatened the prosperity of the republic, the 
necessity of naming a Cassar for the administration of the 
West, and his own intention, if it was agreeable to their 
wishes, of rewarding with the honors of the purple the prom- 
ising virtues of the nephew of Constantine. The approba- 
tion of the soldiers was testified by a respectful murmur ; 
they gazed on the manly countenance of Julian, and observed 
with pleasure, that the fire which sparkled in his eyes was 
tempered by a modest blush, on being thus exposed, for the 
first time, to the public view of mankind. As soon as the 
ceremony of his investiture had been performed, Constantius 
addressed him with tlie tone of authority whicli his superior 
age and station permitted him to assume ; and exhorting the 
new Caesar to deserve, by lieroic deeds, that sacred and im- 
mortal name, the emperor gave his colleague the strongest 
assurances of a friendship which should never be impaired 
by time, nor intewupted by their sej^aration into the most 
distant climates. As soon as the speech was ended, the 
troops, as a token of applause, clashed their shields against 
their knees ; ^° wliile the ofticers wlio surrounded the tribunal 
expressed, with decent reserve, their sense of the merits of 
the representative of Constantius. 

The two princes returned to the palace in the same 
chariot ; and during the slow procession, Julian repeated to 
himself a verse of his favorite Ilomer, which he might equally 
apj^ly to his fortune and to his fears.'^'^ The four-and-twenty 

deiily transported into a new world, where every object appeared strange and 
hostile. 

=*^ See Ammian. Marcellin. 1. xv. c. 8. Zosimus, 1. iii. p. 139. Aurelius Victor. 
Victor Junior in Epitom. Eutrop. x. 14. 

s'j Militares onines horrendo i'ragore scuta genibus illidentes ; quod est pros- 
peritatis indiciunn plenum ; nam contra cum hastis clypei feriuntur, ir:e docu- 

mentum est et doloria Ammianus adds, with a nice distinction, Eumquo 

ut potior! reverentia Bervaretur, nee supra modum laudabant nee infra quani 
decebat. 

37 'EAAa/3e Trop^upeo? ,<^a.vaTO^, Kai fioipa Kparanq. The WOrd purple, which Homer 

had used as a vague but commtm epithet for death, was applied by Julian to ex- 
press, veiy aptly, the nature and ol)ject of his own apijrehensious. 



128 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

days which the Caesar spent at Mihm after liis investiture, 
and the first months of liis Gallic reign, were devoted to a 
splendid but severe captivity ; nor could the acquisition of 
lionor compensate for the loss of freedom. ^^ His steps were 
Avatched, his correspondence was intercepted ; and he was 
obliged, by prudence, to decline the visits of liis most intimate 
friends. Of his former domestics, four only were ])ermitted 
to attend him ; two pages, his physician, and his librarian ; 
the last of whom was employed in the care of a valuable col- 
lection of books, the gift of the empress, who studied the 
inclinations as well as the interest of her friend. In the room 
of these faithful servants, a household was formed, such in- 
deed as became the dignity of a Caesar ; but it Avas filled with 
a crowd of slaves, destitute, and perhaps incapable, of any 
attachment for their new master, to whom, for the most part, 
they were either unknown or suspected. His want of ex- 
perience might require the assistance of a wise council ; but 
the minute instructions which regulated the service of his 
table and the distribution of his hours, were adapted to a 
youth still under the discipline of his preceptors, rather than 
to the situation of a prince entrusted with the conduct of an 
important war. If he aspired to deserve the esteem of his 
subjects, he was checked by the fear of displeasing his 
sovereign ; and even the fruits of his marriage-bed were 
blasted by the jealous artifices of Eusebia^^ herself, who, on 
this occasion alone, seems to have been unmindful of the ten- 
derness of her sex, and the generosity of her character. The 
memory of liis father and of his brothers reminded Julian of 
his own danger, and his apprehensions were increased by the 
recent and unworthy fate of Sylvanus. In the summer 
which preceded his own elevation, that general had been 
chosen to deliver Gaul from the tyranny of the Barbarians ; 

38 He represents, in the most patlietic terms (p. 277), the distress of his new 
situation. The provision for his table was, however, so elegant and sumptuous, 
that the young philosopher rejected it with disdain. Quuni logeret libellnm 
assidue, qiiem Constantius ut privignum ad studia mittens manu sua conscrip- 
serat, praelicenter disponens quid in convivio Caesaris impendi del)eret ; Pha- 
sianum, et vulvam et sumen exigi vetuit et inferri. Ammian. Marcellin. 1. xvi. 
c. 5. 

•"•'J If we recollect that Constantine, the father of Helena, died above eighteen 
years before, in a mature old age, it will appear probable, that the daughter, 
though a virgin, could not be very young at the time of her marriage. She was 
soon afterward delivered of a son, who died innnediately, qu6d obstetrix 
corrupta mercede, mox natum prajsecto plusquam convenerat umbilit o nec- 
avit. She accompanied the emperor and empress in their journey to Rome, 
and the latter, qua^situm venenum bibere per fraudem illexit, ut quoticscunque 
concepisset, immaturum abjicerit paitum, Ammian. 1. xvi. c. 10, Our physi- 
cians will determine whether there exists siich a poison. For mv own part, I am 
inclined to hope that the public malignity imputed the effects of accideut as the 
guilt of Eusebia. 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. 129 

but Sylvanus soon discovered that he had left his most dan- 
gerous enemies in the Imperial court. A dexterous informer, 
countenanced by several of the principal ministers, j^rocured 
from him some recommendatory letters; and erasing the 
whole of the contents, except the signature, filled up the 
vacant parchment with matters of high and treasonable im- 
port. By the industry and courage ot* his friends, the fraud 
was however detected, and in a great council of the civil and 
military officers, held in the presence of the emperor himself, 
tlie innocence of Sylvanus was publicly acknowledged. But 
the discovery came too late ; the report of the calumny, and 
the hasty seizure of his estate, had already provoked the in- 
dignant chief to the rebellion of which he was so unjustly 
accused. He assumed the purple at his head-quarters of 
Cologne, and his active powers appeared to menace Italy 
with an invasion, and Milan with a siege. In this emergency, 
Ursicinus, a general of equal rank, regained, by an act of 
treachery, the favor which he had lost by liis eminent ser- 
vices in the East. Exasperated, as he might speciously 
allege, by injuries of a similar nature, he hastened with a few 
followers to jom the standard, and to betray the confidence, 
of his too credulous friend. After a reign of only twenty- 
eight days, Sylvanus w^as assassinated : the soldiers who, 
without any criminal intention, had blindly followed the ex- 
ample of tlieir leader, immediately returned to their allegi- 
ance; and the flatterers of Constantius celebrated the wisdom 
and felicity of the monarch who had extinguished a civil war 
without the hazard of a battle.^*^ 

The protection of the Rhaitian frontier, and the persecu- 
tion of the Catholic church, detained Constantius in Italy 
above eighteen months after the departure of Julian. Be- 
fore the emperor returned into the East, he indulged his 
pride and curiosity in a visit to the ancient capital.^^ He 
proceeded from Milan to Rome along the ^milian and 
Flaminian ways ; and as soon as he approached within 
forty miles of the city, the march of a prince who had never 
vanquished a foreign enemy assumed the appearance of a 
triumphal procession. His splendid train was composed 
of all the ministers of luxury ; but in a time of profound 

40 Ammiaiins (xv. v.) was perfectly well informed of the coiiduct and fate of 
Svlvauu.s. He himself was one of the few followers who attended Ursicinus in 
his danj^erous enter)>rise. 

■*' For the particulars of the visit of Constantius to Rome, see Ammianus, 1. xvi. 
c. 10. We have only to add, that Then.istius was appointed deputy from Constan- 
tinople, and that he composed his fourth oration for this ceremony. 

Vol. IL— 9 



130 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

peace, lie was encompassed by the glittering anns of the 
numerous squadrons of his guards and cuirassiers. Their 
streaming banners of silk, embossed Avith gold, and shaped 
\n the form of dragons, waved round the person of the em- 
peror. Constantius sat alone in a lofty car, resplendent 
with gold and precious gems ; and, except when he bowed 
his head to pass under tlie gates of the cities, he affected a 
stately demeanor of inflexible, and, as it might seem, of 
insensible gravity. The severe discipline of the Persian 
youth had been introduced by the eunuchs into the Imperial 
palace ; and such were the habits of patience which they 
had inculcated, that during a slow and sultry march, he was 
never seen to move his hand towards his face, or to turn Ins 
eyes either to tlie riglit or to the left. He was received by 
the magistrates and senate of Rome ; and the emperor sur- 
veyed, with attention, the civil honors of the republic, and the 
consular images of the noble families. Tlie streets were 
lined with an innumerable multitude. Their repeated accla- 
mations expressed their joy at beholding, after an absence 
of thirty-two years, the sacred person of their sovereign ; and 
Constantius himself expressed, with some pleasantry, his 
affected surprise that the human race should thus suddenly 
be collected on the same spot. The son of Constantme was 
lodged in the ancient jialace of Augustus : he presided in 
the senate, harangued the people from the tribunal which 
Cicero had so often ascended, assisted with unusual courtesy 
at the games of the Circus, and accepted the crowns of 
gold, as well as the Panegyrics which had been j)repared 
for this ceremony by the deputies of the principal cities. 
His short visit of thirty days was employed in viewing the 
monuments of art and power, which were scattered over the 
seven hills and the interjacent valleys. He admired the 
awful majesty of the Capitol, the vast extent of the baths 
of Caracalla and Diocletian, the severe simplicity of the 
Pantheon, the massy greatness of the amphitheatre of Titus, 
the elegant architecture of the theatre of Pompey and the 
Temple of Peace, and, above all, the stately structure of 
the Forum and column of Trajan ; acknowledging that 
the voice of fame, so prone to invent and to magnify, had 
made an inadequate report of the metropolis of the world. 
The traveller, who has contemplated the ruins of ancient 
Rome may conceive some imperfect idea of the sentiments 
which they must have inspired when they reared their heads 
in the splendor of unsullied beauty. 



OP THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 131 

The satisfaction which Constantius had received from 
this journey excited liini to tlie generous emulation of be- 
stowing on tlie Romans some memorial of his own gratitude 
and muniiicence, Ilis first idea was to imitate the eques- 
trian and colossal statue which he had seen in the P^orum of 
Trajan ; but when he had maturely Aveighed the difficulties 
of the execution, ^^ he chose rather to embellish the capital 
by the gift of an Egyptian obelisk. In a remote but i)ol- 
ished age, which seems to have ])receded the invention of 
alpliabetical writing, a great number of these obelisks had 
been erected, in the cities of Thebes and Heliopolis, by the 
ancient sovereigns of Egy])t, in a just confidence tliat the 
simplicity of their form, and the hardness of their substance, 
would resist the injuries of time and violence.^^ Several of 
these extraordinary columns had been transported to Rome 
by Augustus and his successors, as the most durable monu- 
ments of their i)Ower and victory ; ^^ but there remained 
one obelisk, which, from its size or sanctity, escaped for a 
long time the rapacious vanity of the conquerors. It was 
designed by Constantine to adorn his new city ; ^^ and, after 
being removed by his order from the pedestal where it 
stood before the Temple of the Sun at Heliopolis, was 
floated down the Nile to Alexandria. The death of Con- 
stantine suspended the execution of his purpose, and this 
obelisk was destined by his son to the ancient capital of 
the empire. A vessel of uncommon strength and capacious- 
ness Avas provided to convey this enormous weight of 
granite, at least a hundred and fifteen feet in length, from 
the banks of the Nile to those of the Tiber. The obelisk of 
Constantius was landed about three miles from the cit}', and 
elevated, by the efforts of art and labor, in the great Circus 
of Rome.^^ 

*' Ilormisdas, a fugitive prince of Persia, observed to the emperor, that if he 
made such a horse, he must think of preparing a similar stable (the Forum of 
Trajan). Another saying of Hormit^das is recorded, "that one tiling only had 
(/isjj/eased him, to lind that men died at Rome as well as elsewheic." If we 
adopt this reading of the text of Ammianus (displicuisse, iustendof placuisse) wo 
7iiay consider it as a reproof of Roman vanity. The contrary sense would be that 
ot a misajithrope. 

*5 When Germanicus visited tiio ancient monuments of Thebes, the eldest of 
tne p. iests explained to him the meai?ing of these hieroglyphics. Tacit. Annal. 
ii. c. GO. But it seems probable, that befcu-e the useful invention of an alphaljet, 
these natural or arbitiary signs were the common cliararters of the Egyptian 
nation. Pee Warburton's Divine Le^.alion of JNIo^es, vol. iii. p^p. (;y-243. 

'•'^ See Plin. Ili.^t. Katvir. 1. xxxvi. c. 14, 1.5. 

*^ Ammlaii. ]\.Iarcellin. 1. xvii. c. 4. lie gives us a Greek interpretation of the 
hieroglyphics, and his commentator Lindenbrcgi'.iS adds a Latin inscription, 
whicli, in twenty verses of the age of Constantius, contain a short history of the 
obelisk. 

*' See Donat. Roma. Antiqua, 1. iii. c. 14, 1. iv. c. 12, and the learned, though 



132 THE DECLINE AND TALL 

The departure of Constantiiis from Rome was hastened 
by tlie ahirmiiig intelligence of the distress and danger of 
the lUyrian provinces. The distractions of civil war, and 
the irreparable loss which the Roman legions had sustained 
in the battle of Mursa, exposed those countries, almost with- 
out defence, to the light cavalry of the Barbarians ; and 
particularly to the inroads of the Quadi, a fierce and power- 
ful nation, who seem to have exchanged the institutions of 
Germany for the arms and military arts of their Sarmatian 
allies.^' The garrisons of the frontier were insufficient to 
check their progress ; and the indolent monarch was at 
length compelled to assemble, from the extremities of his 
dominions, the flower of the Palatine troops, to take the 
field iu person, and to employ a whole campaign, Avith the 
preceding autumn and tlie ensuing spring, in the serious 
prosecution of the war. The emperor passed the Danube 
on a bridge of boats, cut in pieces all that encountered his 
march, penetrated into the heart of the country of the Quadi, 
and severely retaliated the calamities which they had inflict- 
ed on the Roman province. The dismayed Barbarians were 
soon reduced to sue for peace : they offered the restitution 
of his captive subjects as an atonement for the past, and the 
noblest hostages as a pledge of their future conduct. The 
generous courtesy which was shown to the first among their 
chieftains who implored the clemency of Constantius, en- 
couraged the more timid, or the more obstinate, to imitate 
their example ; and the Imperial camp was crow^ded with 
the princes and ambassadors of the most distant tribes, who 
occupied the plains of the Lesser Poland, and who might liave 
deemed themselves secure behind tlie lofty ridge of the Car- 
pathian Mountains. While Constantius gave laws to the 
Barbarians beyond the Danube, he distinguished, with spe- 
cious compassion, the Sarmatian exiles, who had been ex- 
pelled from their native country by the rebellion of their 

confused, Dissertation of Bargsevis on Obelisks, inserted in the fourth volun)e of 
Grsevius's Roman Antiquities, pp. 1897-1986. This dissertation is dedicated to 
Pope Sixtus v., who erected the obelisk of Constantius in the square before the 
patriarchal church of St. John Lateran.* 

4' The events of this Quadiaii and Sarmatian war are related by Ammi;:nus 
xvi. 10, xvii. 12, 13, xix, 11. 



* It is doubtful whether the obelisk transported by Constantius to Uome now 
exists. Kveu froin the text of Annnianus, it is uncertain whether tho intttrpre- 
tation of llerniapiou refers to tlie older obelisk (obelisco incitiusest veteri qucm 
Aadenius in Circo), rnised, as he himself states, in the ( ircus ]\!axiinus, long be- 
fore, by Augustus, or to the one brought by Constantius. The obelisk in the 
square before the church of St. John I^ateran is ascribed, not to Kanieses tlie 
Great, but to Thoutmos 11. ChanipoUion, I. Lettre ii M. de Blacas, p. 32.— JNl. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 133 

slaves, and who formed a very considerable accession to tlie 
power of the Quadi. The emperor, embraciiij;^ a generous 
but artful system of policy, released tlie Sarmatians from the 
bands of this humiliating dependence, and restored them, by 
a separate treat}^ to tlie dignity of a nation united under 
the government of a king, tlie friend and ally of the repub- 
lic. He declared his resolution of asserting the justice of 
their cause, and of securing the peace of the ])rovinces by 
tlie extirpation, or at least the banishment, of the Limigantes, 
whose manners were still infected with the vices of their 
servile origin. The execution of this design was attended 
with more difficulty than glory. The territory of the Limi- 
gantes was protected against the Romans by the Danube, 
against the hostile Barbarians by the Teyss. The marshy 
lands Avhich lay between those rivers, and were often 
covered by their inundations, formed an intricate wilderness, 
pervious only to the inhabitants, who were acquainted with 
its secret paths and inaccessible foitresses. On the a])proacli 
of Constantius, the Limigantes tried the efficacy of prayers, 
of fraud, and of arms ; but he sternly rejected their suppli- 
cations, defeated their rude stratagems, and repelled with 
skill and firmness the efforts of their irregular valor. One 
of their most warlike tribes, establislied in a small island 
towards the conflux of the Teyss and the Danube, consented 
to pass the river with the intention of surprising the emperor 
during the secur^^ty of an amicable conference. They soon 
became the victims of the perfidy which they meditated. 
Encompassed on every side, trampled down by the cavalry, 
slaughtered by the swords of the legions, they disdained to 
ask for mercy ; and with an undaunted countenance, still 
grasped their weapons in the agonies of death. After this 
victory, a considerable body of Romans was landed on the 
opposite banks of the Danube ; the Taifala?, a Gothic tribe 
engaged in the service of the empire, invaded the Limigantes 
on the side of the Teyss; and their former masters, the free 
Sarmatians, animated by hope and revenge, penetrated 
through the hilly country, into the heart of their ancient 
possessions. A general conflagration revealed the huts of 
the Barbarians, which were seated in the depth of the wilder- 
ness ; and the soldier fought with confidence on marshy 
ground, which it was dangerous for him to tread. In this 
extremity, the bravest of the Limigantes were resolved to 
die in arms, rather than to yield : but the milder sentiment, 
enforced by the authority of their elders, at length prevailed ; 



134 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

and the sup])liant crowd, followed by their wives and chil- 
dren, repaired to the Imperial camp, to learn their fate from 
the mouth of the conqueror. After celebrating his own 
clemency, which was still inclined to pardon their repeated 
crimes, and to spare the remnant of a guilty nation, Constan- 
tius assigned for the place of their exile a remote country, 
where they might enjoy a safe and honorable repose. The 
Limigantes obeyed with reluctance ; but before they could 
reach, at least before they could occupy, their destined 
habitations, they returned to the banks of the Danube, exag- 
gerating the hardships of their situation, and requesting, 
with fervent professions of fidelity, that the emperor Avould 
grant them an undisturbed settlement within the limits of 
the Roman provinces. Instead of consulting his own expe- 
rience of their incurable perfidy, Constantius listened to his 
flatterers, who Avcre ready to represent the honor and advan- 
tage of accepting a colony of soldiers, at a time when it Avas 
much easier to obtain the pecuniary contributions than the 
military service of the subjects of the empire. The Limi- 
gantes were j^crmitted to pass the Danube ; and the emperor 
gave audience to the multitude in a large plain near the 
modern city of Buda. They surrounded the tribunal, and 
seemed to hear with respect an oration full of mildness and 
dignity; when one of the Barbarians, casting his shoe into 
the air. exclaimed with a loud voice, Marha ! JSIarha ! * 2l 
word of defiance, which was received as the signal of the 
tumult. They rushed with fury to seize the person of the 
emperor; his royal throne and golden couch were pillaged 
by these rude hands ; but the faithful defence of his guards, 
who died at his feet, allov»^ed him a moment to mount a fleet 
horse, and to escape from the confusion. The disgrace 
wdiich had been incurred by a treacherous surprise was soon 
retrieved by the numbers and discipline of the Komans ; and 
the combat was only terminated by the extinction of the 
name and nation of the Limigantes. The free Sarmatians 
W'cre reinstated in the possession of their ancient seats ; and 
although Constantius distrusted the levity of their character, 
he entertained some hoj^es that a sense of gratitude might 
influence their future conduct. He had remarked the lofty 
stature and obsequious demeanor of Zizais, one of the noblest 
of their chiefs. lie conferred on him the title of King ; and 
Zizais proved that he was not unworthy to reign, by a sincere 

* Keinesius reads Warrlia, Warrlia, Guerre, War. Wagner, note on Amm. 
Marc, xix. 11. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 135 

and lasting attachment to the interest of his benefactor, who, 
after this splendid success, received the name of ^armaticus 
from tlie acclamations of his victorious army.^^ 

While the Roman emperor and the Persian monarch, at 
the distance of three thousand miles, defended their extreme 
limits aofainst the Barbarians of the Danube and of the 
Oxus, their intermediate frontier experienced the vicissi- 
tudes of a lanc^uid war, and a precarious truce. Two of 
the eastern ministers of Constantius, the Pra?torian Y^YSd- 
feet Musonian, whose abilities were disgraced by the 
want of truth and integrity, and Cassian, duke of Mesopo- 
tamia, a hardy and veteran soldier, opened a secret nego- 
tiation with the satrap Tamsapor.^^* These overtures of 
peace, translated into the servile and flattering language of 
Asia, were transmitted to the camp of the Great King ; who 
resolved to signify, by an ambassador, the terms which he 
was inclined to grant to the suppliant Romans. Narses, whom 
he invested with that character, was honorably received m 
his passage through Antioch and Constantinople : he reached 
Sirmium after a long journey, and, at his first audience, re- 
spectfully unfolded the silken veil which covered the haughty 
epistle of his sovereign. Sapor, King of Kings, and brother 
of the Sun and Moon, (such were the lofty titles affected by 
Oriental vanity,) expressed his satisfaction that his brother 
Constantius Caesar, had been taught wisdom by adversity. 
As the lawful successor of Darius Hystaspes, Sapor asserted, 
that the River Strymon, in Macedonia,. was the true and 
ancient boundary of his empire ; declaring, however, that as 
an evidence of his moderation, he would content himself 
with the provinces of Armenia and Mesopotamia, which had 
been fraudulently extorted from his ancestors. He alleged, 
that, without the restitution of these disi:)uted countries, it 
was impossible to establish any treaty on a solid and per- 
manent basis; and he arrogantly threatened, that if his 
ambassador returned in vain, he was prepared to take the 
field in the spring, and to support the justice of his cause 
by the strength of his invincible arms. Narscs, who was 
endowed with the most polite and amiable manners, endeav- 
ored, as far as was consistent with his duty, to soften the 

_ '*3 Genti Sarmataruiii magiio decoi i considens aptid eos regem dedit. Aurelius 
Victor. In a pompous oration pronounced by Constantius himself, he expatiates 
on his own exploits with much vanity, and some truth. 
*^ Ammian. xvi. 9 



* In Persian, Ten-schah-pour. St. Martin, ii. 177. — M. 



136 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

harshness ot the message.®'^ Both the style and substance 
were maturely weighed in the Imperial council, and he was 
dismissed with the following answer : " Constantius had a 
right to disclaim the officiousness of his ministers, who had 
acted without any specific orders from the throne : he was 
not, however, averse to an equal and honorable treaty; but 
it was highly indecent, as well as absurd, to j)ropose to the 
sole and victorious emperor of the Roman world, the same 
conditions of peace which he had indignantly rejected at 
the time when his power was contracted within the narrow 
limits of the East : the chance of arms was uncertain ; and 
Sapor should recollect, that if the Romans had sometimes 
been vanquished in battle, they had almost always been suc- 
cessful in the event of the war." A few days after the de- 
parture of Narses, three ambassadors were sent to the court 
of Sapor, who was already returned from the Scythian expe- 
dition to his ordinary residence of Ctesiphon. A count, a 
notary, and a sophist, had been selected for this important 
commission, and Constantius, who was secretly anxious for 
the conclusion of the peace, entertained some hopes that the 
dignity of the first of these ministers, the dexterity of the 
second, and the rhetoric of the third,^^ would persuade the 
Persian monarch to abate of the rigor of his demands. 
But the progress of their negotiation was opposed and 
defeated by the hostile arts of Antoninus,^^a Roman subject 
of Syria, who had fled from oppression, and was admitted 
into the councils of Sapor, and even to the royal table, 
where, according to the custom of the Persians, the most 
important business Avas frequently discussed.^^ The dex- 
terous fugitive promoted his interest by the same conduct 
which gi-atified his revenge. Pie incessantly urged the 
ambition of his new master to embrace the favorable op- 

50 Ammianus (xvii. 5) transcribes tlie haughty letter. Themistius (Orat. iv. p. 
57, edit. Petav.) takes notice of the silken coTering. Idatius and Zonanis men- 
tion the journey of the ambassador; and Peter the Patrician (in Excerpt. Legat. 
p. 28) has informed us of liis conciliating behavior. 

51 Ammianus, xvii. 5, ar.d Valesius ad loc. The sophist, or philosopher (in 
that age these words were almost synonymous), was Eustathiusthe Cappadocian, 
the disciple of Jamblichus, and the friend of St. Basil. Eunapius (in Vit. 
yEdesii, pp. 44-4T) fondly attributes to this philosoxdiic embassador the glory of 
enchanting the Jiarbarian king by the persuasive charms of reason and elo- 
quence. See Tillcmont, Hist, des Empereurs, torn. iv. pp. S2S, ]l;;2. 

£'2Ammian. xviii. 5, G, 8. The decent and respectful behavior of Antoninus 
towards the Koman general sets him in a very interesting light ; and Ammianus 
himself speaks of the traitor with sonxe compassion and esteem. 

^=' This circumstance, as it is noticed by Ammianus, serves to prove the ver- 
acity of Herodotus (1. i. c. 130), and the permanency of the Persian manners. In 
every age the Persians have been addicted to intemperance, and the wines of 
Shiraz have triiiniphe<l over the law of Mahomet. Brissou do Kegiio Pers. 1. ii. 
pp. 462-472, and Chai-din, A'oyages en Perse, torn. iii. p. 90. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 137 

portiinity when the bravest of the Palatine troops were 
employed with the emperor in a distant war on the Danube. 
He pressed Sapor to invade tlie exhausted emd defenceless 
provinces of the East, Avith the numerous armies oi Persia, 
now fortified by the alliance and accession of tlie fiercest 
Barbarians. The ambassadors of Rome retn-ed without 
success, and a second embassy, of a still more honorable 
rank, was detamed in strict confinement, and threatened 
citlier with death or exile. 

The military historian,^'* who was himself despatched to 
observe the army of the Persians, as th(;y were preparing to 
construct a bridge of boats over the Tigris, beheld from an 
eminence the plain of Assyria, as far as the edge of the 
horizon, covered with men, with horses, and with arms. 
Sapor appeared in the front, conspicuous by the splendor 
of his purple. On liis left hand, the place of honor among 
the Orientals, Grumbates, king of the Chionites, displayed 
the stern countenance of an aged and renowned warrior. 
The monarch had reserved a similar place on his right hand 
for the king of the Albanians, who led his independent 
tribes from the shores of the Caspian.* The satraps and 
generals were distributed according to their several ranks, 
and the whole army, besides the numerous train of Oriental 
luxury, consisted of more than one hundred thousand 
effective men, inured to fatigue, and selected from the 
bravest nations of Asia. The Roman deserter, who in some 
measure guided the councils of Sapor, had prudently advised 
that, instead of wasting the summer in tedious and difficult 
sieges, he should march directly to the Euphrates, and press 
forwards without delay to seize the feeble and wealthy 
metropolis of Syria. But the Persians were no sooner ad- 
vanced into the plains of Mesopotamia, than they discov- 
ered that every precaution had been used which could re- 
tard their progress, or defeat their design. The inhabitants, 
with their cattle, Avere secured in places of strength, the 
green forage throughout the country was set on fire, the 
fords of the rivers were fortified by sharp stakes ; military 

" Animian. l.xviii. 6, 7, 8, 10. 



* These perhaps were the barbarous tribes who inhabit the northern part of 
the present Schirwan, the Albania of the anc-ieiits. This country, now inhabited 
by tlie Lezghis, the terror of the neighboring districts, was then occupied by the 
same people, called by the ancients Lega^, by the Armenians Gheg, or Leg. The 
latter represent them as constant allies of the Persians in their wars against Ar- 
menia and tlie Empire. A little after this period, a certain Schergir was their 
king, aTid it is of him doubtless that Ammiauus Marcellinus speaks. St. Martin, 
ii. 285.— M. 



138 THE DECLIXE AND FALL 

•engines were planted on the opposite banks, and a season- 
able swell of tlie waters of the Euphrates deterred the Bar- 
barians from atte]n})ting the ordinary passage of the bridge 
of Thapsacus. Their skilful guide, changing his plan of 
operations, then conducted tlie aruiy by a longer circuit, 
but through a fertile territory, towards the head of the 
Eu})hrates, where the infant river is reduced to a shallow 
and accessible stream. Sapor overlooked, with prudent dis- 
dain, the strength of Nisibis ; but as lie passed under the 
walls of Amida, he resolved to try whether the majesty of 
his presence would not awe tlie garrison into immediate 
submission. The sacrilegious insult of a random dart, 
which glanced against the royal tiara, convinced him of his 
error; and the indignant monarcli listened with impatience 
to the advice of his ministers, who conjured him not to 
sacrifice tlie success of his ambition to the ffratification of 
his resentment. The following day Grumbates advanced 
towards the gates with a select body of trooj^s, and required 
the instant surrender of the city, as the only atonement 
which could be accepted for such an act of rashness and 
insolence. His proposals were answered by a general dis- 
charge, and his only son, a beautiful and valiant 3'outh, was 
pierced through the lieart by a javelin, shot from one of the 
balistie. The funeral of the prince of the Chionites Avas 
celebrated according to the rites of his country ; and the 
grief of his aged father was alleviated by the solemn prom- 
ise of Sapor, that the guilty city of Amida should serve 
as a funeral ])ile to expiate the death, and to 2:>erpetuate the 
memory, of his son. 

The ancient city of Amid or Amida, ^^ which sometimes 
assumes the provincial appellation of Diarbekir,^^ is advan- 

S" For the description of Amida, see D'Herbelot, Bibliotheqiie Orientale, p. 
108. Histoire de Tinuir Bee, par (herefeddin Ali, 1. iii. c. 41. Ahined Arabsia- 
des, torn. i. p. 331, c. 43. Voyages de Taveniier, toni. i. p. 301. Voynges d'Otter, 
torn. ii. p. 273, and Voyages de Kiebuhr, toni. ii. pp. 324-328. The last of the^e 
travellers, a learned and accurate Dane, has given a plan of Amida, which illus- 
trates the operations of the siege. 

^^ Diarbekir, which is styled Amid, or Kara Amid, m the public writings of the 
Turks, contains above 16,000 houses, and is the residence of a paclia with three 
tails. The epithet of Kara is derived from the blackness ot the stone which com- 
poses the strong and ancient wall of Amida.* 



* Tn mv Mem. Hist, sur I'Armenie, 1. i, pp. 106, 173, I conceive that I have 
proved this city, st'll called, by the Armenians, Dirkranagerd, the city of Tigranes, 
to be the same with the famous Tigranocerta, of which the situation was unknown. 
St. Martin, i. 432. On the siege of Amida, see St. Martin's Notes, ii. 200. Faustus 
of Byzantium, nearly a contemporary (Armenian), states thatthe Persians, on be- 
coming masters of it, destroyed 40,000 houses; though Ammianus describes the 
city as of no great extent (ciVitat is ambitum non nhnium ampla»). Besides the 
or-winary population, and those who took refuge from the country, it contained 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 139 

tageously situate in a fertile plain, watered by the natural and 
artiiicial channels of the Tigris, of which the least inconsid- 
erable stream bends in a semicircular form round the eastern 
part of the city. The emperor Constantius had recently con- 
ferred on Amida the honor of his own name, and the addi- 
tional fortifications of strong walls and lofty tow^ers. It was 
provided with an arsenal of military engines, and the ordinar}^ 
garrison had been reenforced to the amount of^seven legions, 
Avhen the place was invested by the arms of Sapor.^" His 
first and most sanguine hopes depended on the success of a 
general assault. To the several nations which foUoAved his 
standard, their respective posts were assigned ; the south to 
tijG Yertae ; the north to the Albanians ; the east to the 
Chionites, inflamed with grief and indignation ; the west to 
the Segestans, the bravest of his warriors, who covered their 
front with a formidable line of Indian elephnnts.^^ The 
Persians, on every side, supported their efforts, and ani- 
mated their courage ; and the monarch himself, careless of 
his rank and safety, displayed, in the prosecution of the 
siege, the ardor of a youthful soldier. After an obstinate 
combat, the Barbarians were repulsed; they incessantly re- 
turned to the charge ; they were again driven back with a 
dreadful slaughter, and two rebel legions of Gauls, who had 
been banished into the East, signalized their undisciplined 
courage by a nocturnal sally into the heart of the Persian 
camp. In one of the fiercest of these repeated assaults, 

" The operations of the siege of Amida are very minutely described by Am- 
miaiius (xix. 1-9), who acted an honorable part in the defense, and escaped with 
difficulty when the city was stormed by the Persians. 

"» Of these four nations, the Albanians are too well known to require any de- 
scription. The Segestans [Sacastene. St. MartlH] inhabited a large and level 
country, which still preserves their i\ame, to the south of Khoiasan, and the west 
of Hindostan, (See Geographi'a Nubiensis, p. 133, and D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque 
Orientale, p. 797.) Notwithstanding the boasted victory of Balaam (vol. i. p. 410), 
the Segestans, above fourscore years afterwards, appear as an independentnation, 
the ally of Persia. We are ignorant of the situation of the Verta; and Chionites, 
but 1 am inclined to place them (at least the latter) towards the confines of In- 
dia and Scythia. See Ammian. xvi. 9.* 



20,000 soldiers. St. Martin, ii. 290. This interpretation is extremely doubtful. 
Wagner (note on Ammianus) considers the whole population to amount only to 
20,01)0.— M. 

* Klaproth considers the real Albanians the same with the ancient Alani, and 
quotes a passage of the emperor Julifin in sui)port of his opinion. Ihey are the 
Ossetae, now inhabiting part of Caucasus. Tableaux Hist, de I'Asie, pp. 179, 
180.— M. 

The V^ertfE are still unknown. It is possible that the Chionites are the same as 
the Huns. These people were already known ; and we find from Armenian au- 
thoi s that they were makins, at this period, incursions into Asia. They were often 
at war with the Persians. Tlie name was perhaps pronounced diflferently in the 
East and in the West, and this i^reveuts us from recognizing it. St. Martin, ii. 
177.— M. 



140 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

Amid a was betrayed by the treachery of a deserter, 'svho 
indicated to tlie Barbarians a secret and necflected staircase, 
scooped out of the rock tliat Jiangs over tlie stream of tlie 
Tigris. Seventy chosen arcliers of the royal guard ascended 
in silence to the third story of a lofty tower, which com- 
manded the precipice ; they elevated on high the Persian 
banner, the signal of confidence to the assailants, and of dis- 
may to the besieged ; and if this devoted band could have 
maintained their post a few minutes longer, the reduction 
of the ])lace might have Leen purchased by the sacrifice of 
their lives. After Sapor had tried, without success, the effi- 
cacy of force and of stratagem, he had recourse to the 
slower but more certain o})erations of a regular siege, in the 
conduct of which he was instructed by the skill of the Ko- 
man deserters. The trenches were opened at a convenient 
distance, and the troops destined for that service advanced 
under the portable cover of strong hurdles, to fill up the 
ditcli, and undermine the foundations of the Avails. "Wooden 
towers were at the same time constructed, and moved for- 
ward on wheels, till the soldiers, who were provided with 
every species of missile weapons, could engage almost on 
level ground with the troops who defended the rampart. 
Every mode of resistance which art could suggest, or cour- 
age could execute, was employed in the defence of Amida, 
and the works of Sapor were more than once destroyed by 
the fire of the Romans. But the resources of a besieged 
city may be exhausted. The Persians repaired their losses, 
and pushed their approaches; a large breach was made by 
the battering-ram, and the strength of the garrison, wasted 
by the sword and by disease, yielded to the fury of the as- 
sault. The soldiers, the citizens, their wives, their children, 
all who had not time to escape through the opposite gate, 
were involved by the conquerors in a promiscuous massacre. 
But the ruin of Amida was the safety of the Roman 
provinces. As soon as the first transports of victory had 
subsided. Sapor was at leisure to reflect, that to chastise a 
disobedient city, he had lost the flower of his troops, and the 
most favorable season for conquest. ^^ Thirty thousand of 

59 Ammianus has marked the chronology of this year hy tliroe signs, vhieh do 
not perfectly coincide with each other, or with tlie series of the hisiory. 1. The 
corn was ripe when Sapor invaded Mesopotamia ; ■' Cum jam SLipula liavente tur- 
gerent ; " a circumstance, which, in the latitude of Aleppo, would naturally refer 
us to the month of April or May. See Harmer's Observations on Scripture, vol. 
i. p. 41. Shaw's Travels, p. : sh, edit. 4to. 2. The progress of Sapor was checked 
by the overHowiug of the Euphrates, which generally happens in July and August. 
Plin. Hist. Kat. v. 21. Yiaggi di Pietro della Valle, torn. i. p. 696. 3. When Sapor 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 141 

his veterans had fallen under tlie walls of Amida, during the 
continuance of a siege, which lasted seventy-three days; and 
the disappointed monarch returned to his capital with af- 
fected triurnpli and secret mortification. It is more than 
probable, that the inconstancy of his Barbarian allies was 
tempted to relinquisli a war m whicli tliey had encountered 
such unexpected difficulties; and that the aged king of the 
Chionites, satiated with revenge, turned away with horror 
from a scene of action where he had been deprived of the 
hope of his family and nation. The strength as well as the 
spirit of the army with whicli Sapor took the field in tlie 
ensuing spring was no longer equal to the unbounded views 
of his ambition. Instead of aspiring to the conquest of the 
East, he was obliged to content himself with the reduction 
of two fortified cities of Mesopotamia, Singara and Be- 
zabde ; ^^ the one situate in the midst of a sandy desert, the 
other in a small peninsula, surrounded almost on every side 
by tlie deep and rapid stream of the Tigris. Five Roman 
legions, of the diminutive size to which they had been re- 
duced in the age of Constantine, were maae prisoners, and 
sent into remote caj)tivity on the extreme confines of Persia. 
After dismantling the walls of Singara, the conqueror aban- 
doned that solitary and sequestered place ; but he carefully 
restored the fortiticatious of Bezabde, and fixed in that im- 
portant ])ost a garrison or colony of veterans ; amply sup- 
plied ".vith every means of defence, and animated by high 
sentiments of honor and fidelity. Towards the close of the 
campaign, the arms of Sa])or incurred some disgrace by an 
unsuccessful enterprise against Virtha, or Tecrit, a strong, 
or, as it was ainiversally esteemed till the age of Tamerlane, 
an impregnable fortress of the independent Arabs. ^^ 

The defence of the East against the arms of Sapor re- 
quired, and would have exercised, the abilities of the most 

had taken Amida, afrer a siege of seventy-thvee days, the antnmn Avas far ad- 
vanced. "Autunnio prajcipiti hajdorumqiie iniprobosidere exorto." To reconcile 
these apparent contradictious, we must allow for some delay in the Persian kinjr, 
some inaccuracy in the hisLorian, and some disorder in the seasons. 
™ The account of these sieiy;es is given by Ammianus, xx. G, 7.* 
6' For the identity of Virtliaand Tecrit, see D'Anville, Geographic Ancienne, 
torn. ii. p. 201. For the siege of that castle hy Timur Bee, or Tamerlane, see 
Cherefeddin, 1. iii. c. 3.'5. The Persian biographer exajrgeratesthe merit and diffi- 
culty of this exploit, which delivered the caravans of liagdad from a formidable 
gang of robbers, t 



* The Christian bishop of Bezabde went to the camp of the king of Persia, to 
persuade him to clieck the waste of human blood. Amm. Marc. xx. 7.— M. 

t St. 'Martin doubts whether it lay so mticli to the south. "The word Birtha 
means in Syriac a castle or fortress, and might be applied to many places." Note 
i. p. 344.— M. 



142 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

consummate general ; and it seemed fortunate for the state, 
that it was the actual province of the brave Ursicinus, mIio 
alone deserved the confidence of the soldiers and people. 
In the hour of danger, Ursicinus ^- was removed from his 
station by the intrigues of the eunuchs; and the military 
command of the East was bestowed, by the same influence, 
on Sabinian, a wealtliy and subtle veteran, who had attained 
the infirmities, without acquiring the experience, of age. 
By a second order, which issued from the same jealous and 
inconstant councils, Ursicinus was again despatched to the 
frontier of Mesopotamia, and condemned to sustain the 
labors of a war, the honors of which had been transferred to 
his unworthy rival. Sabinian fixed his indolent station 
under the walls of Edessa; and while he amused himself 
with the idle parade of military exercise, and moved to the 
sound of flutes in the Pyrrhic dance, the public defence was 
abandoned to the boldness and diligence of the former gen- 
eral of the East. But whenever Ursicinus recommended 
any vigorous plan of operations ; when he proposed, at the 
head of a light and active army, to wheel round the foot of 
the mountains, to intercept the convoys of the enemy, to 
harass the wide extent of the Persian lines, and to relieve 
the distress of Amida; the timid and envious commander 
alleged, that he was restrained by his positive orders from 
endangering the safety of the troops. Amida was at length 
taken ; its bravest defenders, who had escaped the sword of 
the Barbarians, died in the Roman camp by the hand of 
the executioner ; and Ursicinus himself, after supporting the 
disgrace of a partial inquiry, was punished for the miscon- 
duct of Sabinian by the loss of his military rank. But Con- 
stantius soon experienced the truth of the prediction which 
honest indignation had extorted from his injured lieutenant, 
that as lono- as such maxims of jxovernmcnt were suffered to 
prevail, the emperor himself would find it no easy task to 
defend his eastern dominions from the invasion of a foreign 
enemy. When he had subdued or pacified the Barbarians 
of the Danube, Constantius proceeded by slow marches into 
the East; and after he had wept over the smoking ruins of 
Amida, he formed, with a powerful army, the siege of Be- 
zabde. The walls were shaken by the reiterated efforts of the 
most enormous of the battering-rams ; the tov.n was i-educcd 

^- Ammiainis (xviii. 5, 6, xix. 3, xx. 2) represents the merit and disgrace of Ur- 
sicinus with that faithful attention wliieh a soldier owed to his general. Some 
partiality may be suspected, yet the whole account is consistent and probable. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 143 

to the last extremity ; but it was still defencled by the pa- 
tient and intrepid valor of the garrison, till the approach of 
the rainy season obliged the emperor to raise the siege, and 
ingloriously to retreat into his winter quarters at Antioch/^ 
The pride of Constantius, and the ingenuity of his courtiers, 
were at a loss to discover any materials for panegyric in the 
events of tlie Persian war; while the glory of his cousin 
Julian, to whose military command he had intrusted the 
provinces of Gaul, was proclaimed to the world in the simple 
and concise narrative of his exploits. 

In the blind fury of civil discord, Constantius had aban- 
doned to the Barbarians of Germany the countries of Gaul, 
which still acknowledged the authority of his rival. A 
numerous swarm of Franks and Alemanni were invited to 
cross the Rhine by presents and promises, by the hopes of 
spoil, and by a perpetual grant of all the territories which 
they should be able to subdue.^* But the emperor, who for^ 
a temporary service had thus imprudently provoked the 
rapacious spirit of the Barbarians, soon discovered and 
lamented the difficulty of dismissing these formidable allies, 
after they had tasted the richness of the Roman soil. Re- 
gardless of the nice distinction of loyalty and rebellion, these 
undisciplined robbers treated as their natural enemies all the 
subjects of the empire, Avho possessed any property which 
they were desirous of acquiring. Forty-five flourishing cities, 
Tongres, Cologne, TrcA'es, Worms, Spires, Strasburgh, &c., 
besides a far greater number of towns and villages, were 
pillaged, and for the most part reduced to ashes. The Bar- 
barians of Germany, still faithful to the maxims of their an- 
cestors, abhorred the confinement of walls, to which they 
applied the odious names of prisons and sepulchres ; and 
fixing their independent habitations on the banks of ri\ers, 
the Rhine, the Moselle, and \he Meuse, they secured them- 
selves against the danger of a surprise, by a rude and hasty 
fortification of large trees, which were felled and thrown 

♦"•s Ammiaii. XX. 11. Omisso vano ijicepto, hieniaturus Antiochia) redit in 
Syriani serunmosam, perpessus et ulcerum sed et atiocia, diuque detlenda. It is 
thus that James Gronovius has restored an obscure passage ; and lie thinks that 
this correction alone wouia have deserved o new edition of his author ; whose 
Bcnse may now bo darkly perceived. I expected some additional light from tiia 
recent labors <'L the learned Ernestus. (Lipsijp, 1773.)* 

t* The ravages of the Germans, and tlie distress of Gaul, may be collected from 
Julian himself . Orat. ad S. I*. Q. Athen. p. i;77. Animian. xv. 11. LibaniuS; 
Orat. X. Zosimus, 1, iii. p. 140. bozoraen, 1. iii. c. 1. [Mamertin. Grat. Art. c. 
iv.] 



* The late editor (Wagner) has nothing better to suggest, and laments, with 
Gibbon, the silence of Ernesti. — M. 



144 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

across the roads. Tlie Alemaniii were established in tlie 
modern countries of Alsace and Lorraine ; tlie Franks occu- 
pied the island of the Batavians, together with an extensive 
district of Brabant, which was then known by the appella- 
tion of Toxandria,*^^ and may deserve to be considered as 
the original seat of their Gallic monarchy.^® From the 
sources, to the mouth, of the Rhine, the conquests of the 
Germans extended above forty miles to the Avest of that 
river, over a country j^eopled. by colonies of their own name 
and nation; and the scene of their devastations was three 
times more extensive than that of their conquests. At a 
still greater distance the open towns of Gaul were deserted, 
and the inhabitants of the fortified cities, who trusted to 
their strength and vigilance, were obliged to content them- 
selves with such supplies of corn as tliey could raise on the 
vacant land within the enclosure of their walls. The dimin- 
ished legions, destitute of pay and provisions, of arms and 
discipline, trembled at the ajJi^roach, and even at the name, 
of the Barbarians. 

Under these melancholy circumstances, an unexperienced 
youth was appointed to save and to govern the provinces of 
Gaul, or rather, as he expresses it himself, to exhibit the 
vain image of Imperial greatness. The retired scholastic 
education of Julian, in which he had been more conversant 
with books than with arms, with the dead than with the 
living, left him in profound ignorance of the practical arts 
of war and government ; and when he avv kwardly repeated 
some military exercise which it was necessary for him to 
learn, he exclaimed with a sigh, " O Plato, Plato, what a 
task for a i:>hilosopher ! " Yet even this speculative philoso- 
phy, which men of business are too apt to despise, had filled 
the mind of Julian with the noblest precepts and the most 
shining examples ; had animatefl him with the love of virtue, 
the desire of fame, and tlie contempt of death. The habits 
of temperance recommended in the schools, are still more 

cs Ammianus, xvi. 8. This name seems to be derived from the Toxandri of 
Pliny, and very frequently occurs in the histories of the middle age. Toxaiidria 
Avas a country of woods and nio;asses, which extended from the neighborliood of 
Tongres to tlie conflux of the Vahal and the Khine. See A'alesius, -Kotit. Galliar. 
p. 558. 

«6 The paradox of P. Daniel, that the Franks never obtained any permanent 
settlement on this side of the Khine before the time of Clovis, is refuted with much 
learning ami good sense by ]\i. Biet, who lias proved, by a chain of evidence, their 
uninterrupteil i)ossessionof Toxandria, one hundred aiul thirty years before the 
accession of Clovis. The Dissertation of ]\I. P.iet was crowned by the Academy of 
Soissons. in tlie year 1736, and seems to have been j.istly preferred to the discourse 
of his more celebrated competitor, the Abhele Doeuf, aii antiquarian, whose name 
was happily expressive of his talents. 



OF THE EOMAX EMPIRE. 145 

essential in the severe discipline of a camp. The simple 
wants of nature regulated the measure of his food and sleep. 
Rejectnig with disdain the delicacies ])rovided for Ids table, 
he satisfied his appetite with tlie coarse and common fare 
which was allotted to the meanest soldiers. During the 
rigor of a Gallic winter, he never suffered a fii-e in liis bed- 
cliamber ; and after a sliort and interrupted slumber, he fre- 
quently rose in the middle of the night from a carpet spread 
on the floor, to despatch any urgent business, to visit his 
rounds, or to steal a few moments for the prosecution of his 
favorite studies.*^ The precepts of eloquence, which he liad 
hitherto practised on fancied topics of 'declamation, were 
more usefully applied to excite or to assuage the passions of 
an armed multitude: and although Julian, from his early 
habits of conversation and literature, was more familiarly 
acquainted with the beauties of the Greek language, he liad 
attained a competent knowledge of tlie Latin tongue.^^ 
Since Julian was not originally designed for the character 
of a legislator, or a judge, it is ])robable that the civil juris- 
prudence of the Romans had not engaged any considerable 
share of his attention: but he derived from his philosophic^ 
studies an inflexible regard for justice, tempered by a dispo- 
sition to clemency; tlie knowledge of the general principles 
of equity and evidence, and the faculty of j^atiently investi- 
gating the most intricate and tedious questions which could 
be proi^osed for his discussion. The meaf>ures of policy, 
and the operations of war, must submit to the various acci- 
dents of circumstance and character, and the unpractised 
student will often be ])erplexed in the application of the 
most perfect theory. But in the acquisition of this impor- 
tant science, Julian was assisted by the active vigor of his 
own genius, as well as by the wisdom and experience of 
Sallust, an officer of rank, who soon conceived a sincere 
attachment for a prince so worthy of his friendship ; and 
whose incorruptible integrity was adorned by the talent of 
insinuating the harshest truths without wounding the deli- 
cacy of a royal ear.^* 

f^" The private life of Julian in Gaul, and the severe discipline which he em- 
braced, are displayed by Ainmianus (xvi. 5), who professes to praise, and by Julian 
liiinijelf, who atfectsto ridicule /Misopogon, p. 340), a conduct, which, in a prince 
of the house of Constantine, might justly excite the surprise of mankind. 

''^ Aderat Latiiie quoque <lisserenti sufficiens sei'mo. Ammianus, xvi, 5. But 
.Julian, educated in the schools of Greece, always considered the language of the 
Ilomaus as a foreign and popular dialect which he might use on necessary oc- 
casions. 

^'' We are ignoi-ant of the actual office of this excellent minister, whom Julian 
af terwa rds created prref ect of Gaul- Sallust was speedily recalled by the jealousy 

Vol. II.— 10 



146 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Immediately after Julian had received the puq^le at 
Milan, he was sent into Gaul with a feeble retinue of three 
hundred and sixty soldiers. At Viennn, where he passed a 
painful and anxious winter, in the hands of those ministers 
to whom Constantius had intrusted the direction of his con- 
duct, the Gaesar Avas informed of the siege and deliverance 
of Autun. That large and ancient city, protected only by a 
ruined wall and pusillanimous garrison, was saved by tlie 
generous resolution of a few veterans, who resumed their 
arms for the defence of their country. In his march from 
Autun, through the heart of the Gallic provinces, Julian em- 
braced with ardor the earliest opportunity of signalizing his 
courage. At the head of a small body of archers and heavy 
cavalry, he preferred the shorter but the more dangerous of 
two roads ; * and sometimes eluding, and sometimes resist- 
ing, the attacks of the Barbarians, who were masters of the 
field, he arrived with honor and safety at the camp near 
Rheims, where the Roman troops had been ordered to as- 
semlile. The aspect of their young prince revived the droop- 
ing spirit of the soldiers, and they marched from Rjieims in 
search of the enemy, with a confidence which had almost 
proved fatal to them. The Alemanni, familiarized to the 
knowledge of the country, secretly collected their scattered 
forces, and seizing the op})ortunity of a dark and rainy day, 
poured with unexpected fury on the rear-guard of the Ro- 
mans. Before the inevitable disorder could be remedied, 
two legions were destroyed ; and Julian was taught by ex- 
perience, that caution and vigilance are the most important 
lessons of the art of war. In a second and more successful 
action, t he recovered and established his military fame; 
but as the agility of the Barbarians saved them from pur- 
suit, his victory was neither bloody nor decisive. He ad- 
vanced, however, to the banks of the Rhine, surveyed the 
ruins of Cologne, convinced himself of the dilficulties of the 
Avar, and retreated on the approach of Avinter, discontented 

of the emperor ; aiul we may still read a sensible but pedantic discourse (pp. 240- 
252), in which Julian deplores the loss of so valuable a friend, to whom lie ac- 
knowledges himself indebted for his reputation. See La Bleterie, Preface.^ la 
Vie de Jovien, p. 20. 



* Aliis per Arbor — quibusdam per Sedelaucum et Coram iri debere firmanti- 
bus. Amm. Marc. xvi. 2. I do not know wh:it place can be meant by the muti- 
lated name Arbor. Sedelanus isSaulieu, a small town of the dei)artmont of the 
Coted'Or. six leagues from Autun. Cora answers to the village of Cure, on the 
river of the same name, betwecTi Autun and Nevers. St. INlartin, ii. 1(>2. — M. 

t At Brocomagus, Brumat, near Strasburgh. St. Martin ii. 1G4.— M. 



OF THE R0MA:N' EMPIPwE. 147 

with the court, with his array, and with his own success.'" 
The power of the enemy was yet unbroken ; and the Caosar 
had no sooner separated liis troops, and fixed liis own quar- 
ters, at Sens, in the centre of Gaul, tlian lie was surrounded 
and besieged by a numerous liost of Germans. Reduced, in 
this extremity, to the resources of his own mind, lie displayed 
a prudent intrepidity, which compensated for all the deficien- 
cies of the place and garrison ; and the Barbarians, at the 
end of thirty days, were obliged to retire with disappointed 
raijje. 

The conscious pride of Julian, who was indebted only to 
his sword for this signal deliverance, was imbittered by the 
reflection, that he Avas abandoned, betrayed, and perhaps 
devoted to destruction, by those who were bound to assist 
him by every tie of honor and fidelity. Marcellus, master- 
general of the cavalry in Gaul, interpreting too strictly the 
jealous orders of the court, beheld with supine indifference 
the distress of Julian, and had restrained the troops under 
his command from marching to the relief of Sens. If the 
Caasar had dissembled in silence so dangerous an insult, his 
person and authority would have been exposed to the con- 
tempt of the world ; and if an action so criminal had been 
suffered to pass with impunity, the emperor Avould have 
confirmed the suspicions, which received a very specious 
color from his past conduct towards the princes of the 
Flavian family. Marcellus was recalled, and gently dis- 
missed from liis office.'^ In his room Severus was appointed 
general of the cavalry; an experienced soldier, of approved 
courage and fidelity, who could advise with respect, and 
execute with zeal ; and who submitted, without reluctance, 
to the supreme command which Julian, by the interest of 
liis patroness Eusebia, at length obtained over the armies of 
Gaul.''^ A very judicious plan of operations was adopted 
for the approaching campaign. Julian himself, at the head 
of the remains of the veteran bands, and of some new 
levies which he had been permitted to form, boldly pene- 
trated into the centre of the German cantonments, and 

"0 Aminiumis (xvi.2, 3) appears much better satisfied with the success of this 
cami).ii<^n inuu Julian himself ; who very fairly owns tliat he did nothing of cou- 
KCQuence, a)id tliuL he tied before tlie enemy. 

'I Aininian. xvi. 7. Libanius speaks ratlier more advantageously of the military 
talents of Marcellus, Orat. X. p. 272. And Julian insinuates that he wouhl not 
have been so easily recalled, unless he had given other reasons of offence to the 
court, p. 27«. 

'- Severus, non disoors, non an-ogans, sed longamilitiaj frugalitate compertus ; 
et eum recta praeuntem secuturus. ut ductorem morigerus miles. Ammiau. xvi, 
11. Zosimus, 1. iij. p. 140. 



148 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

carefully reestablished the fortifications of Saverne, in an 
advantageous post, which would either check the incursions, 
or intercept the retreat, of the enemy. At the same time, 
Barbatio, general of the infantry, advanced from Milan with 
an army of thirty tliousand men, and passing the mountains, 
prepared to throw a bridge over the Rhine, in the neighbor- 
hood of Basil. It was reasonable to expect that the Ale- 
manni, j^ressed on either side by the Roman arms, would 
soon be forced to evacuate the provinces of Gaul, and to 
hasten to the defence of their native country. But the 
hopes of the campaign were defeated by the incapacity, 
or the envy, or the secret instructions, of Barbatio ; who 
acted as if he had been the enemy of the Caesar, and the 
secret ally of the Barbarians. The negligence with which 
he permitted a troop of pillagers freely to pass, and to 
return, almost before the gates of his camp, may be im- 
puted to his Avant of abilities ; but the treasonable act of 
burning a number of boats, and a superfluous stock of pro- 
Adsions, which would have been of the most essential service 
to the army of Gaul, was an evidence of his hostile and 
criminal intentions. The Germans despised an enemy who 
appeared destitute either of poAver or of inclination to 
offend them ; and the ignominous retreat of Barbatio de- 
prived Julian of the expected support ; and left him to ex- 
tricate himself from a hazardous situation, Avhere he could 
neither remain Avith safety, nor retire Avith honor."*^ 

As soon as they Avere delivered fi'om the fears of inA'a- 
sion, the Alemanni pre])ared to chastise the Roman youth, 
Avho presumed to dis])ute the possession of that country, 
which they claimed as their OAvn by the right of conquest 
and of treaties. They employed three days, and as many 
nights, in transporting over the Rhine their military poAvers. 
The fierce Chnodomar, shaking the ponderous jaA'elin Avhich 
lie had \dctoriously Avielded ao^ainst the brother of Mairnen- 
tius, led the van of the Barbarians, and moderated by his 
experience the martial ardor Avhich his examj^le inspired."^* 
He was followed by six other kings, by ten i)rinces of regal 

'3 On the design and failure of the cooperation between Julian and Barbatio, 
Bee Ammianus (xvi. 11) and Libanius (Orat. x. p. 27.'3.)* 

'* Ammianus (xvi. 12) describes withhis inflated eloquence the figure and char- 
acter of Chnodomar, Audax et lidens ingenti robore lacertorum. ubi ardor p; oplii 
sperabatur immanis, equospumante sublimior, erectus in jaculum forniidandae 
vastitatis, arrnorumque nitore conspicuus : antea strenuus et miles, etutilis prae- 
ter caeteros ductor Deceutium Caesarem superavit ajquo inarte congressus. 



* Barbatio seems to have allowed himself to be surprised and defeated. — M. 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 14\) 

extraction, by a long train of high-spirited nobles, and by 
thirty-live thcmsand of the bravest warriors of the tribes of 
Germany. The confidence derived from the view of their 
own strength, was increased by tlie intelligence which they 
received from a deserter, that tlie Caesar, with a feeble army 
of thirteen thousand men, occupied a post about one-and- 
twenty miles from their camp of Strasburgh. With this 
inadequate force, Julian resolved to seek and to encounter 
the Barbarian host ; and the chance of a general action was 
preferred to the tedious and uncertain operation of separ- 
ately engaging the dispersed parties of the Alemanffii. The 
Romans marched in close order, and in two columns ; the 
cavalry on the right, the infantry on the left ; and the day 
was so far spent when they appeared in sight of the enemy, 
that Julian was desirous of deferrino; the battle till the next 
morning, and of allowing his troops to recruit their ex- 
hausted strength by the necessary refreshments of sleep 
and food. Yielding, liowever, with some reluctance, to the 
clamors of the soldiers, and even to the opinion of his coun- 
cil, he exhorted them to justify by their valor the eager 
impatience, which, in case of a defeat, would be universally 
branded with the epithets of rashness and presumption. 
The trumpets sounded, the military shout was heard 
through the field, and the two armies rushed with equal 
fury to the charge. The Caesar, who conducted in person 
his right wing, depended on the dexterity of his archers, 
and the weight of his cuirassiers. But his ranks were in- 
stantly broken by an irregular mixture of light horse and of 
light infantry, and he had the mortification of beholding 
the fiight of six hundred of his most renowned cuirassiers."'^ 
The fugitives were stopped and rallied by the presence and 
autliority of Julian, who, careless of his own safety, threw 
himself before them, and urgmg every motive of shame and 
lionor, led them back against the victorious enemy. The 
conflict between the two lines of infantry was obstinate and 
bloody. The Germans possessed the superiority of strength 
and stature, the Romans that of discipline and temper; and 
as the Barbarians, who served under the standard of the 
empire, united the respective advantages of both parties, 
their strenuous efforts, guided by a skilful leader, at length 
determined the event of the day. The Romans lost four 

"^B After the battle, Julian ventured to revive the rigor of ancient discipline, by 
exposimr these f 'uritives i!i female apparel to the derision of tlie whole camp, lu 
the next cauipaigii, these troopa nobly retrieved their honor. Zosimus, 1. iii. p. 
142. 



150 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

tribunes, and two lumdred and forty-three soldiers, in this 
memorable battle of Strasburgh, so glorious to the Cassar,'^^ 
and so salutary to the afflicted provinces of Gaul. Six 
thousand of the Alemanni were slain in the field, without 
including those who were drowned in the Rhine, or trans- 
fixed with darts while they attempted to swim across the 
river." Chnodomar himself was surrounded and taken 
prisoner, with three of his brave companions, who had de- 
voted themselves to follow in life or death the fate of their 
chieftain. Julian received liini with military pomp in the 
council of his officers ; and expressing a generous pity for 
the fallen state, dissembled his inAvard contempt for the ab- 
ject humiliation of his captive. Instead of exhibiting the 
vanquished king of the Alemanni, as a grateful spectacle to 
the cities of Gaul, he respectfully laid at the feet of the em- 
peror this splendid trophy of his victory. Chnodomar 
experienced an honorable treatment ; but the impatient 
Barbarian could not long survive his defeat, his confine- 
ment, and his exile.'^^ 

After Julian had repulsed the Alemanni from the prov- 
inces of the Upper Rhine, he turned his arms against the 
Franks, who were seated nearer to the ocean, on the con- 
fines of Gaul and Germany; and who, from theii* numbers, 
and still more from their intrepid valor, had ever been es- 
teemed the most formidable of the Barbarians.'^ Although 
they Avere strongly actuated by the allurements of rapine, 
they professed a disinterested love of war ; which they con- 
sidered as the supreme honor and felicity of human nature ; 
and their minds and bodies were so completely hardened by 
perpetual action, that, according to the lively expression of 
an orator, the snows of winter were as pleasant to them as 
the flowers of spring. In the month of December, which 
followed the battle of Strasburgh, Julian attacked a body of 

'" Julian liiniself (ad S. P. Q. Atlieii. p. 279) speaks of the battle of Strasburgh 

with the modesty of conscious merit ; efxaxco-oLfxr^i' ovk axAew?, icrios Kai et; v/ud? 

a(j)iKeTo Y] ToiavTr] ixdxr]. Zosimus Compares it with the victory of Alexander over 
Darius ; and yet we are at a loss to discover any of those strokes of military 
genius which lix the attention of ages on the conduct and success of a single 
day. 

'77 Ammianiis, xvi. 12, Libanius adds 2000 more to the number of the slain 
(Orat. X. p. 274). But these trilling difnerences disappear before the (50.000 Bar- 
barians, whom Zosimus has sacriliced to the glory of his liero (!. ill. p. HI). We 
might attribute this extravagant number to the carelessness of transcribers, if 
this credulous or partial historian lunl not swelled the army of 35,000 Alemanni 
to an innumerable multitude of Barbarians, 7rArj,ao? aTreipou ^ap/Sdpwr. It is our 
own fault if this detection does not inspire us with proper distrust on similar oc- 
casions. 

'8 Ammian. xvi. 12. Libanius, Orat. x. p. 276. 

"3 Libanius (Orat. ill. p. 137) draws a very lively picture of the manners of the 
Franks. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 151 

six hundred Franks, who had tlirown themselves into two 
castles on the Meuse.®^ In the midst of that severe season 
they sustained, with inflexible constancy, a siege of fifty-four 
days ; till at length, exhausted by hunger, and satisfied that 
the vigilance of the enemy, in breaking the ice of the river, 
left them no hof)es of escape, the Franks consented, for the 
first time, to dispense with the ancient law which commanded 
them to conquer or to die. The Caesar immediately sent his 
captives to the court of Constantius, who, accepting them as 
a valuable j^resent,^^ rejoiced in the opportunity of adding so 
many heroes to the choicest troops of his domestic guards. 
The obstinate resistance of this handful of Franks apprised 
Julian of the difficulties of the expedition which he meditated 
for the ensuing spring, against the whole body of the nation. 
His rapid diligence surprised and astonished the active Bar- 
barians. Ordering his soldiers to provide themselves with 
biscuit for twenty days, he suddenly pitched his camp near 
Tongres, while the enemy still supposed him in his winter 
quarters of Paris, expecting the slow arrival of his convoys 
from Aquitain. Without allowing the Franks to unite or to 
deliberate, he skilfully spread his legions from Cologne to 
the ocean ; and by the terror, as well as by the success, of 
his arms, soon reduced the suppliant tribes to implore the 
clemency, and to obey the commands, of their conqueror. 
The Chamavians submissively retired to their former habita- 
tions beyond the Rhine ; but the Salians were permitted to 
possess their new establishment of Toxandria, as the subjects 
and auxiliaries of the Roman empire. ^^ The treaty was rati- 

8*^ Ammianus, xvii. 2. Libanius, Orat. x. p. 278. The Greek orator, by inisap- 
prebending a pas.'^age of Julian, b;isbeeii induced to represent the Franks as con- 
sisting of a thoiisand men ; and as his head wms always lull of thePeloponnesiaii 
war, he compares them to the Lacedaemonians, who were beseiged and taken in 
the Island of Spliacteria. 

8' Julian, ad S. P. Q. Athen. p. 280. Libanius, Orat. x. p. 278. According lo 
the expression of Libanius, the emperor 6u}pa wi/o/xa^e, whit li La Bleterie under- 
stands (,Vie de Julien, p. J 18) as an honest confession, and Valesins (ad Ammian. 
xvii. 2) as a mean evasion, of the truth. Dom Bouquet (Historiens de France, 
toin. i. p. 733), by substituting anotlier word, €v6/u.io-e, would suppx-ess both the dif- 
ficulty and the spirit of this paj-sage. 

*'■- Ammiam. xvii. 8. Zosimus, 1. iii. pp. 14G-150 (his narrative is darkened by a 
mixture of fable), and Julian, ad S. P. Q. Athen. p. 280. Ills expression, 

VTTeSt^xfXTqv fj-eu fxoipau Tov "S.aXiojf i^fi'OV<;, x'^f^'^fi^^^ ^^ c^tjAacra. This difference of 

treatnient confirms the opinion that the Salian Franks were permitted to retain 
the settlements in Toxandria.* 



* A newly discovered fragment of Eunapius, whom Zosimus probably trans- 
cr^Jjed, illustrates this transaction. " Julian commanded the Komans to abstain 
from all hostile measures against the Saliai.s, neither to waste or ravage tfinr 
own country, for he called every country fhcir aim wliich was surreiuleied with- 
out resistance or toil on the part of the. conquerors." Mai, Scrii)t. Vet. Nov. Col- 
lect, ii. 256, and Eunapius in NiebuUr, Byzaiit. Hist. p. 8C.— M. 



152 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

fied by solemn oaths ; and perpetual inspectors were ap- 
pointed to reside among the Franks, with the authority of 
enforcing the strict observance of the conditions. An inci- 
dent is related, interesting enough in itself, and by no means 
repugnant to the character of Julian, who ingeniously con- 
trived both the plot and the catastrophe of the tragedy. 
When the Chamavians sued for peace, he required the son 
of their king, as the only hostage on whom lie could rely. 
A mournful silence, interrupted by tears and groans, declared 
the sad perplexity of the Barbarians ; and their aged chief 
lamented, in pathetic language, that his private loss was now 
imbittered by a sense of the public calamity. While the 
Chamavians lay prostrate at the foot of his throne, the royal 
captive, whom they believed to have been slain, unexpect- 
edly appeared before their eyes j and as soon as the tumult 
of joy was hushed into attention, the Caesar addressed 
the assembly in the following terms : " Behold the son, 
the prince, whom you wept. You had lost him by your 
fault. God and the Romans have restored him to you. I 
shall still preserve and educate the youth, rather as a monu- 
ment of my own virtue, than as a pledge of your sincerity. 
Should you presume to violate the faith which you have 
sworn, the arms of the republic will avenge the perfidy, not 
on the innocent, but on the guilty." The Barbarians with- 
drew from his presence, impressed with the warmest senti- 
ments of gratitude and admiration.^* 

It was not enough for Julian to have delivered the prov- 
inces of Gaul from the Barbarians of Germany. He aspired 
to emulate the glory of the first and most illustrious of the 
emperors ; after whose example he composed his own com- 
mentaries of the Gallic war.^* Caesar has related, with con- 
scious pride, the manner in which he tto ice passed the Rhine. 
Julian could boast, that before he assumed the title of Au- 
gustus he had carried the Roman eagles beyond that great 
river in three successful expeditions.^^ The consternation of 
the Germans, after the battle of Strasburgh, encouraged him 

83 This interesting story, ■which Zosimus has abridged,, is related hy Eunapius 
^in Excerpt. Legatiouum, pp. 15, 16, 17), with ail the amplilicatioiis of Grecian 
rhetoiic : but the silence of Libanius, of Ammianus, and of Julian liimself, ren- 
ders the truth of it extremely suspicions. 

»* Libanius, the friend of Julian, clearly insinuates (Orat. iv. p. 178) that his 
hero had composed the history of Lis Gallic campaigns. But Zosimus (1. iii. p. 
HO) seems to have derived his information only f lom iho Orations (.voyot) and the 
Epistles of Julian. The discourse which is addressed to the Atlienians contains 
an accurate, though general, account of the war against the Germans. 

" See Ammian. xvii. 1, lu, xviii. 2, and Zosim. 1. iii. p. 144. Julian ad S. P. Q. 
Athen. p. 280. 



OF THE PvOMAX EMPIEE. 153 

to the first attempt ; and the rehictance of the troops soon 
yielded to the persuasive eloquence of a leader, who shared 
the fatigues and dangers which he imposed on the meanest 
of the soldiers. The villages on either side of the Main, 
which were plentifully stored with corn and cattle, felt the 
ravages of an invading army. The principal houses, con- 
structed with some imitation of Roman elegance, were con- 
sumed by the flames ; and the Ca3sar boldly advanced about 
ten miles, till his progress was stopped by a dark and im- 
penetrable forest, undermined by subterraneous passages, 
which threatened with seci'et snares and ambush every step 
of the assailants. The ground was already covered with 
snow ; and Julian, after repairing an ancient castle which 
had been erected by Trajan, granted a truce of ten months 
to the submissive Barbarians. At the expiration of the 
truce, Julian undertook a second expedition beyond the 
Khine, to humble the pride of Surmar and Ilortaire, two of 
the kings of the Alemanni, who had been present at the 
battle of Strasburgh. They ]jromised to restore all the 
Koman captives who yet remained alive; and as the Caesar 
had procured an exact account from the cities and villages 
of Gaul, of the inhabitants whom they liad lost, lie detected 
every attempt to deceive him, with a degree of readiness 
and accuracy, which almost established the belief of his su- 
pernatural knowledge. His third exj)edition was still more 
splendid and important than the two former. The Germans 
had collected their military powers, and moA^ed along the 
opposite banks of the river, with a design of destroying the 
bridge, and of preventing the passage of the Romans. But 
tliis judicious plan of defence was disconcerted by a skilful 
diversion. Three hundred li^'ht-armed and active soldiers 
were detached in forty small boats, to fall down the stream 
in silence, and to land at some distance from the ])osts of 
the enemy. They executed their orders with so much bold- 
ness and celerity, that they had almost surprised the Bar- 
barian chiefs, who returned in the fearless confidence of 
intoxication from one of their nocturnal festivals. Without 
repeating the uniform and disgusting tale of slaughter and 
devastation, it is sufficient to observe, that Jtdian dictated 
his own conditions of peace to six of the haughtiest kings of 
the Alemanni, three of whom were permitted to view the 
severe discipline and martial pomp of a Roman camp. Fol- 
lowed by twenty thousand ca])tives, whom he had rescued 
from the chains of the Barbarians, the Caesar repassed the 



154 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Khinc, after terminating a war, the success of whicli has 
been compared to the ancient glories of the Punic and 
Cimbric victories. 

As soon as the valor and conduct of Julian had secured 
an interval of peace, he applied himself to a work more 
congenial to his humane and philosophic temj^er. The cities 
of Gaul, Avhich had suffered from the inroads of the Bar- 
barians, he diligently repaired ; and seven important posts, 
between Mentz and the mouth of the Khine, are particu- 
larly mentioned, as having been rebuilt and fortified by the 
order of Julian. ^^ The vanquished Germans had submitted 
to the just but humiliating condition of prej^aring and con- 
veying the necessary materials. The active zeal of Julian 
urged the prosecution of the Avork ; and such was the spirit 
which he had diffused among the trooj^s, that the auxiliaries 
themselves, waiving their exemption from any duties of 
fatigue, contended in the most servile labors with the dili- 
gence of the Roman soldiers. It was incumbent on the 
Caesar to provide for the subsistence, as well as for the 
safety, of the inhabitants and of the garrisons. The deser- 
tion of the former, and the mutiny of the latter, must have 
been the fatal and inevitable consequences of famine. The 
tillage of the provinces of Gaul had been interrupted by the 
calamities of war ; but the scanty harvests of the continent 
were supplied, by his paternal care, from the plenty of the 
adjacent island. Six hundred large barks, framed in the 
forest of the Ardennes, made several vovao-cs to the coast 
of Britain ; and returning from thence, laden with corn, 
sailed up the Rhine, and distributed their cargoes to the 
several towns and fortresses along the banks of the river.^'^ 
The arms of Julian had restored a^ free and secure navi- 
gation, which Constantius had offered to purchase at the 
expense of his dignity, and of a tributary present of two 

»*■' Amnnan. xviii, 2. Libanius, Orat. x. pp. 270, 280. Of these pcven posts, four 
are at present towns of some consequeiioe ; Biugen, AiKlenia< li, Bonn, and Niiyss. 
The other three. Tricesiniae, Qnadiiburgiuni, and Castra HercuJis, or lieraelea, no 
longer subsist ; but there is room lo believe, that on the ground of Quadriburgium 
llie Dutcli have constructed the fort of Schenli, a name so offensive to the fastid- 
ious delicacy of Boileau. See D'Anville, Notice de I'Ancieune Gaule, p. 183. 
Boileau, Epitre iv. and the notes.* 

1^' We may credit Julian himself (Orat. adS. P. Q. Atheniensem, p. 280), who 
gives a vervparticular account of the transaction. Zot^^imus adds tv-o hundred 
vessels more (1. iii. p. 145). If we compute the GOO corn ships of Julian at only 
peventv tons each, they were capable of exporting 120,000 (juarters (see Arbuth- 
not's Weights and Measures, p, 237) ; and the country which could bear so large 
ftu exportation, must already have attained an improved state of agriculture. 



* Tricesima:>, Kellen, jNTannert. quoted by Wagner. Ileraclea, Erkelens, in the 
district of Juliers. St. Martin, ii. 311.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 155 

thousand pounds of silver. The emperor parsimoniously 
refused to his soldiers the sums whicli he granted with a 
Mvish and trembling hand to the Barbarians. The dexterity, 
as well as the firmness, of Julian was put to a severe 
trial, when he took the field with a diseontented army, which 
had already served two campaigns, without receiving any 
regular pay or any extraordinary donative.^^ 

A tender regard for the peace and happiness of his sub- 
jects was the ruling principle Avhich directed, or seemed to 
direct, the administration of Julian/^ He devoted the 
leisure of his winter quarters to the oilices of civil govern- 
ment ; and affected to assume, with more pleasure, the char- 
acter of a magistrate than that of a general. Before he 
took the field, he devolved on the provincial governors most 
of the public and private causes which had been referred to 
his tribunal ; but, on his return, he carefully revised their 
proceedings, mitigated the rigor of the law, and pronounced 
a second judgment on the judges themselves. Superior to the 
last temptation of virtuous minds, an indiscreet and in- 
temperate zeal for justice, he restrained, with calmness and 
dignity, the warmth of an advocate, who prosecuted, for 
extortion, the president of the Narbonnese province. 
" Who will ever be found guilty," exclaimed the vehement 
Delphidius, " if it be enough to deny ?" "And who," replied 
Julian, " will ever be innocent, if it be sufiicient to afiirm?" 
In the genera], administration of peace and war, the interest 
of the sovereign is commonly the same as that of liis people ; 
but Constantius would have thought himself deeply injured, 
if the virtues of Julian had defrauded him of any part of 
the tribute which he extorted from an oppressed and 
exhausted country. The prince who was invested with the 
ensigns of royalty, might sometimes presume to correct the 
rapacious insolence of his inferior agents, to expose their 
corrupt arts, and to introduce an equal and easier m^ode of 
collection. But the management of the finances was more 
safely intrusted to Florentius, Praetorian prasfect of Gaul, 
an effeminate tyrant, incapable of pity or remorse : and the 
haughty minister complained of the most decent and gentle 
opposition, while Julian himself was rather inclined to cen- 
sure the weakness of his own behavior. The Csesar had 
rejected with abhorrence, a mandate for the levy of an 

8» The troops once broke out into a mutiny, immediately before the second 
passage of the Rhine. Ammian. xvii. 9. 

«'•' Ammian. xvi. 5, xviii. 1. Mameitinus in Panegyr. Yet. xi. 4. 



156 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

extraordinary tax; anew superindiction, which thepragfect 
had offered for his signature ; and the faithful picture of the 
public misery, by which he had been obliged to justify his 
refusal, offended the court of Constantius. We may enjoy 
the pleasure of reading the sentiments of Julian, as he ex- 
presses them with warmth and freedom in a letter to one of 
his most intimate friends. After stating his own conduct, 
lie proceeds in the following terms : " Was it possible for 
the disciple of Plato and Aristotle to act otherwise than 
I have done? Could I abandon the unhappy subjects in- 
trusted to my care? Was I not called upon to defend them 
from the repeated injuries of these unfeeling robbers ? A 
tribune who deserts his post is j^unished with death, and 
deprived of the honors of burial. With what justice could 
I pronounce his sentence, if, in the hour of danger, I my- 
self necrlected a duty far more sacred and far more impor- 
tant ? God has placed me in this elevated post ; his provi- 
dence will guard and support me. Should I be condemned 
to suffer, I shall derive comfort from the testimony of a 
pure and upright conscience. Would to Heaven that I still 
possessed a counsellor like Sallust ! If they think proper to 
send me a successor, I shall submit without reluctance ; and 
had much rather improve the short opportunity of doing 
good, than enjoy a long and lasting impunity of evil."^'^ 
The precarious and dependent situation of Julian displayed 
his virtues and concealed his defects. The young hero who 
supported, in Gaul, the throne of Constantius, was not per- 
mitted to reform the vices of the government; but he had 
courage to alleviate or to pity the distress of the people. 
Unless he had been able to revive the martial spirit of the 
Romans, or to introduce the arts of industry and refinement 
among their savage enemies, he could not entertain any ra- 
tional hopes of securing the public tranquillity, eitlier by 
the peace or conquest of Germany. Yet the victories of 
Julian suspended, for a short time, the inroads of the Bar- 
barians, and delayed the ruin of the Western Empire. 

His salutary influence restored the cities of Gaul, which 
had been so long exposed to the evils of civil discord. Bar- 
barian war, and domestic tyranny ; and the spirit of in- 
dustry was revived Avith the hopes of enjoyment. Agri- 
culture, manufactures, and commerce, again flourished under 

w* Ammian. xvii. 3. Julian. Epistol. xv, edit- Sponheim. Such a ooiuluct al- 
most justifies the encomium of Mamerlinus. Itailli anni spatia divisa sunt, ut 
jiut Barbaros doniitet, aut civibus jura restituat peipetuuui profesbUj^, aut contra 
hoBtem, aut contra vitia, certamen. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 157 

the protection of the laws ; and tlie curice^ or civil corpora- 
tions, were again filled with useful and respectable members ; 
the youth were no longer a])prehensive of marriage ; and 
married persons were no longer apprehensive of posterity : 
the public and private festivals were celebrated with custom- 
ary pomp ; and the frequent and secure intercourse of the proA'- 
inces displayed the image of national prosperity/-*^ A mind 
like- that of Julian must have felt the general happiness of 
which he was the author ; but he viewed, with peculiar satis- 
faction and comjdacency, the city of Paris ; the seat of his 
winter residence, and the object even of his partial affec- 
tion.^^ That splendid capital, which now embraces an 
am])le territory on either side of the Seine, was originally 
confined to the small island in the midst of the river, from 
whence the inhabitants derived a supply of pure and salu- 
brious water. The river bathed the foot of the Avails ; and 
the town was accessible only by two wooden bridges. A 
forest overspread the northern side of the Seine, but on the 
south, the ground, Avhich noAv bears the name of the Univer- 
sity, Avas insensibly covered Avith houses, and adorned Avith 
a palace and amphitheatre, baths, an aqueduct, and a field of 
Mars for the exercise of the Roman troo])S. The severity of 
the climate Avas tempered by the neigborhood of the ocean ; 
and Avith some precautions, Avhich experience had taught, 
the vine and fig-tree Avere successfully cultivated. But, in 
remarkable winters, the Seine Avas deeply frozen ; and the 
huge pieces of ice that floated doAvn the stream, might be 
compared, by an Asiatic, to the blocks of Avhite marble 
Avhich Avere extracted from the quarries of Phrygia. The 
licentiousness and corruption of Antioch recalled to the 
memory of Julian the severe and simple manners of his 
Jjcloved Lutetia ;^^ Avhere the amusements of the theatre Avere 
unknoAvn or des])ised. He indignantly contrasted the effem- 
inate Syrians Avith the brave and honest simplicity of the 
Gauls, and almost forgave the intemperance, Avhich Avas the 
only stain of the Celtic character.^"^ If Julian could now 

01 Libaiiins.Orat. Parental, in Imp. Julian, c. 38, inFabricius Bibliotliec. Gr?ec. 
torn, vii, yi). lii'6, 'lilA. 

'^ See Julian in Misopogon. pp. 340, 341. The primitive state of Paris is illus- 
trated by Henry A^alesius (ad Annnian. xx. 4), his brother Hadrian Valesius, or de 
Valois, and M. D'Anville (in their respective Notitias of ancient Gaul), the Abb6 
de Longuerue (Desciiption de la France, torn. i. pp. 12, 13), andM.Bonamy (in the 
Mem. de TAcademie des Inscri[)tions, torn. xv. pp. 656-G91). 

"' Ti?;/ «f>tArji' AenKCTiai^. Julian ill IVlisopooon. p. 340. Lencetia. or Lutetia, 
was the ancient name of the city which, according to the fashion of the foiuth 
century, assumed tlie territorial appellation oi Parisii. 

^ Julian, in Misopogon. pp. 859, 860. 



158 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

revisit the capital of France, he might converse with men of 
science and genius, capable of understanding and of instruc- 
ting a disciple of the Greeks ; he might excuse the lively and 
graceful follies of a nation, Avhose martial spirit lias never 
been enervated by the indulgence of luxury ; and he must 
applaud the perfection of that inestimable art, which softens 
and refines and embellishes the intercourse of social life. 



OF TIlS ROMAN EMPIRE. 159 



CHAPTER XX. 

THE MOTIVES, PROGRESS, AND EFFECTS OF THE CONVER- 
SION OF CONST ANTINE. LEGAL ESTABLISHMENT AND 

CONSTITUTION OF THE CHRISTIAN OR CATHOLIC CHURCH. 

The public establishment of Christianity may be con- 
sidered as one of those important and domestic revolutions 
which excite the most lively curiosity, and afford the most 
valuable instruction. The victories and the civil j^olicy of 
Constantine no longer influence the state of Europe ; but a 
considerable portion of the globe still retains the impression 
which it received from the conversion of that monarch ; and 
the ecclesiastical institutions of his reign are still connected, 
by an indissoluble chain, with the o])inions, the passions, 
and the interests of the present generation. 

In the consideration of a subject which may be examined 
with impartiality, but cannot be viewed with indifference, 
a difficulty immediately arises of a very unexpected nature ; 
that of ascertaining the real and precise date of the conver- 
sion of Constantine. The eloquent Lactantius, in the midst 
of his court, seems impatient ^ to proclaim to the world the 
glorious example of the sovereign of Gaul ; who, in the first 
moments of his reign, acknowledged and adored the majesty 
of the true and only God.'-^ The learned Eusebius has 
ascribed the faith of Constantine to the miraculous sign 
which was displayed in the heavens whilst he meditated and 

1 Tbe date of the Divine Institutions of Lactantius has been accurately dis- 
cussed, ditiiculties have been started, solutions pr<;[JOsed, and an expedient 
imagined of two orifjinal editions ; the former published during tlie persecution 
of Diocletian, the latter under that of Licinius. See Duf resnoy, Prefat. p. v. Tille- 
niont. M'eni. Ecclesiast. torn. vi. pp. 465-470. Lardner's Credibility, part ii. vol. 
vii. pp. 78-8G. For my own part.l am almost convinced that Lactantius dedicated 
his Ins.itutions to the sovereign of Gaul, at a time when Galerius, MHxinnn,and 
even Licinius, persecuted the Christians ; tiiat is, between the years 306 and SH. 

^ Lactant. Divin. Instit. i. 1, vii. 27. The tirat and most important of these 
passages is indeed wanting in twenty-eight manuscripts ; but it is found in nine- 
teen. If we weigh the comparative value of thoso mann8cri[)ts, one of 900 years 
old, in the king of France's library, may be alleged in its favor ; but the passage 
is omitted in the correct manuscript of Bologna, whicli the P. de Montfaucon as- 
cribes to the sixth or seventh century (Diarium Italic, p. 409). The taste of 
most of the editors (except Isaius ; see Lactaut. edit. Dufresnoy, torn. i. p. 596) 
has felt the genuine style of Lactantius. 



160 THE DECLINE AND' FALL 

prepared the Italian expedition.^ The liistorian Zosimus 
maliciously asserts, that the emperor liad imbrued his hands 
in the blood of liis eldest son, before he publicly renounced 
the gods of Rome and of his ancestors.^ The perplexity 
produced by these discordant authorities is derived from 
the behavior of Constantiue himself. According to the 
strictness of ecclesiastical language, the first of the Chris- 
tian emperors was unworthy of that name, till the moment 
of his death ; since it was only during: his last illness that 
he received, as a catechumen, the imposition of hands,^ and 
was afterwards admitted, by the initiatory rites of baptism, 
into the number of the faithful.^ The Christianity of Con- 
stantiue must be allowed in a much more vague and qualified 
sense ; and the nicest accuracy is required in tracing the 
slow and almost imperceptible gradations by w^hicli the 
monarcli,declared himself the protector, and at length the 
proselyte, of the church. It was an arduous task to eradi- 
cate the habits and prejudices of his education, to acknowl- 
edge the divine power of Christ, and to understand that the 
truth of /lis revelation was incompatible with the worship 
of the gods. The obstacles Avhich he had probably experi- 
enced in his own mind, instructed him to proceed Avith 
caution in the momentous cham^e of a national relimon ; and 
he insensibly discovered his new opinions, as far as he could 
enforce them with safety and with effect. During the whole 
course of his reign, the stream of Christianity flowed with a 
gentle, though accelerated motion : but its general direction 
was sometimes checked, and sometimes diverted, by the 
accidental circumstances of the times, and by the prudence, 
or possibly by the caprice, of the monarch. His ministers 
were permitted to signify the intentions of their master in 
the various language which was best adapted to their re- 
spective principles ; ^ and he artfully balanced the hopes 

3 Euseb. in Vit. Constant. 1. i. c. 27-32, < Zosimus, 1. ii. p. 104. 

6 That rite was always used in making a catechumen (see Bingham's Antiqui- 
ties, I. X. c. i. p. 419. Dom Chardon, Hist, des Sacramens, torn. i. p. (52), mid Con- 
stantiue received it for the jirst time (Euseb. in Vit. '..onsiaiit. 1, iv. c. f.l) imme- 
diately before his baptism and death. From the connection of these two facts, 
Valesius (ad. loo. Euseb.) has drawn the conclusion which is reluctantly admitted 
by Tillemont (Hist, des Empereurs, torn. iv. p. (>i:8), and opposed wiiii feeble ar- 
guments by Mof^ljeim (p. 9G8). 

^ Euseb. in Vit. Constant. 1. iv. c. 61, 62, 6.3. The legend of Constantine's bap- 
tism at Rome, thirteen years before his death, was invented in the eighth century, 
as a proper motive for his doitation. Such has been the gradual progress of 
knowledge, that a story, of which Cardinal Baronius (Annal. p;cclesiast. A. D. 
324, No. 43-40) declared himself the unblushing advocate, is now feebly supported, 
even within the verge of the Vatican. See the Antiquitates Christianae, torn, 
ii. p. 2.32 ; a work published with six approbations at Rome, in the year 1751, by 
Father Mamachi, a learned Dominican. 

7 The quaestor, or secretary, who composed the law of the Theodosian Code, 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE 161 

and fears of his subjects, by publishing in the same year two 
edicts ; llie first of wliich cnjoiJied the solemn obs-ervance 
of Sunday,^ and the second directed the regular consultation 
of the Aruspices.'^ While this important revolution yet 
remained in suspense, the Christians and the Pagans watched 
the conduct of their sovx'reign with the same anxiety, but 
with very opposite sentiments. The former were prompted 
by every motive of zeal, as well as vanity, to exaggerate the 
marks of his favor, and the evidences of liis faith. The 
latter, till their just apprehensions were changed into despair 
and resentment, attempted to conceal from the world, and 
from themselves, that the gods of Rome could no longer 
reckon the emperor in the number of their votaries. The 
same passions and prejudices have engaged the partial 
writers of the times to connect the public ])rofession of 
Christianity with the most glorious or the most ignominious 
sera of the reign of Constantine. 

Whatever symptoms of Christian piety might transpire 
in the discourses or actions of Constantine, he persevered 
till he was near forty years of age in the practice of tlie 
established religion ; ^ and the same conduct which in the 
court of Nlcomedia might be imputed to Iiis fear, could be 
ascribed only to the inclination or j^olicy of the sovereign of 
Gaul. His liberality restored and enriched the temples of 
the gods; the medals which issued from his Imperial mine 
are impressed with the figures and attributes of Jupiter and 
Apollo, of Mars and Hercules ; and his filial piety increased 
the council of Olympus by the solemn apotlieosis of his 
father Constantius.^^ But the devotion of Constantine was 
more 23eculiarly directed to the genius of the Sun, the 

makes his master say with indifference, "hominibiis supradictse religionis" (L 
xvi. lit. ii. leg- 1). The ininister of ecclesiastical affairs was allowed a more de- 
vout and respectful style, rrj? ev^eaiJ-ov Kai ayioiTdrrj^ Ka^oAiKri<; ,^pr)cr>ceia? ; the 

legal, most holy, and Catholic worship. See Euseb. Hist. Eccles. 1, x. c. 6. 

£= Cod. Theodos. 1. ii. tit. viii. leg, 1. Cod. Justinian. 1. iii. tit. xii. leg. 3. Con- 
stantine styles the Lord's day dies solve, aname which could not offend the ears 
of his pagan subjects. 

y Cod. Theodos. 1. xvi. tit. x. leg. 1. Godefroy, in the charrcter of a com- 
mentator, endeavors (tom. vi. p. 257) to excuse Constantine ; but the more zeal- 
ous Baronius (Annal. Eccles. A. D. 321, No. 18) censures his profane conduct with 
truth and asperity. 

i" Theodor'^t (1 i. c. 18) seems to insinuate that Helena gave her son a Chris- 
tian education ; but we may be assured, from the superior authority of Euse- 
l)i;is (in Vit. Constant. 1 iii. c. 47), that she herself wasindebted to Constantine 
for the knowledge of Christianity. 

" See tlie medals of Constantine in Ducange and Banduri. As few cities had 
retained the privilege of coining, almost all the medals of that age issued from 
the mint under the sanction of the Impeiial authoiity.* 



* Eckhel. Doctriu. Num. vol. vii. — M. 

Vol. IL— 11 



162 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Apollo of Greek and Roman mythology; and he was pleased 
to be represented with the symbols of tiie God of Light and 
Poetry. The unerring shafts of that deity, the brightness 
of his eyes, his laurel wreath, immortal beauty, and elegant 
accomplishments, seem to point him out as the patron of a 
young hero. The altars of Apollo Avere crowned with the 
votive offerings of Constantino; and the credulous multitude 
were taught to believe, that the emperor was permitted to 
behold with mortal eyes the visible majesty of their tutelar 
deity ; and that, either waking or in a vision, he was blessed 
with the auspicious omens of a long and victorious reign. 
The Sun was universally celebrated as the invincible guide 
and protector of Constantino ; and the Pagans might reason- 
ably expect that the insulted god would pursue with unre- 
lenting vengeance the impiety of his ungi*ateful favorite.^^ 

As long as Constantine exercised a limited sovereignty 
over the provinces of Gaul, his Christian subjects were pro- 
tected by the authority, and perhaps by the laws, of a 
prince, Avho Avisoly left to the gods the care of vindicating 
their own honor. If we may credit the assertion of Con- 
stantine himself, he had been an indignant spectator of the 
savage cruelties which were inflicted, by the hands of Roman 
soldiers, on those citizens whose religion was their only 
crime.^* In the East and in the West, he had seen the dif- 
ferent effects of scAcrity and indulgence ; and as the former 
was rendered still more odious by the example of Galerius, 
his implacable enemy, the latter was recommended to his 
imitation by the authority and advice of a dying father. 
The son of Constantius immediately suspended or repealed 
the edicts of persecution, and granted the free exercise of 
their religious ceremonies to all those who had already pro- 
fessed themselves members of the church. They were 
soon encouraged to depend on the favor as well as on the 
justice of their sovereign, who had imbibed a secret and sin- 
cere reverence for the name of Christ, and for the God of 
the Christians.^^ 

1* ThepanegA'iic of Eumenius(vii. inter panegyr. Vet.), which was pronounced 
a few months before the Italian war, abounds* with the most nnexceptioiiable 
evidence ot the Pagan superstition of Constantine, and of his particuhir venera- 
tion for AjK>llo, or tlie Snn ; to which Julian alludes (Orat. vii. p. 228, awoAetsrw*' 
ae). See Comn^entaire de Spanheiui sur les Cesars, p. 317. 

isconstantin. Orat. ad Sanotos. c. 25. But it miglit easily be shown, that the 
Greek translator has improved the sense of the Latin original ; and the aged em- 
peror might recollect the jiersecution of Diocletian with a more lively abhor^ 
rence than he had actually felt in the days of h'"s youth and Pagaxiism. 

1* See Euseb. JHst. Kccles. 1. viii. i;?, l.'ix. !>. and in Vit. Const. 1. i. c. 16, 17. 
Lactant. Diviu. Institut. i. 1. Ciecilius de Mort. Persecut. c. 25. 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 1G3 

About five months after the conquest of Italy, the em- 
peror made a solemn and authentic declaration of his senti- 
ments by the celebrated edict of Milan, which restored 
peace to the Catholic church. In the personal interview of 
the two western princes, Constantine, by the ascendant of 
genius and j^ower, obtained the ready concurrence of his 
colleague, Licinius ; the union of their names and authority 
disarmed the fury of Maximin ; and after the death of the 
tyrant of the East, the edict of Milan was received as a 
general and fundamental law of the Roman world. ^^ 

The wisdom of the emperors provided for the restitution 
of all the civil and religious rights of which the Christians 
had been so unjustly deprived. It was enacted that the 
places of worship, and public lands, Avhich had been confis- 
cated, should be restored to the church, without dispute, 
without delay, and without expense; and this severe injunc- 
tion was accompanied Avith a gracious ])romise, that if any 
of the purchasers had paid a fair and adequate price, they 
should be indemnified from the Imperial treasury. The 
salutary regulations which guard the future tranquillity of 
the faithful are framed on the principles of eidarged and 
equal toleration ; and such an equality must have been in- 
terpreted by a recent sect as an advantageous and honor- 
able distinction. The two emperors proclaim to the world, 
that they have granted a free and absolute power to the 
Chi'istians, and to all others, of following the religion which 
each individual thinks proper to prefer, to which he has ad- 
dicted his mind, and which he may deem the best adapted 
to his own use. They carefully explain every ambiguous 
word, remove every exception, and exact from the governors 
of the provinces a strict obedience to the true and simple 
meaning of an edict, which was designed to establish and 
secure, without any limitation, the claims of religious 
liberty. They condescend to assign two weighty reasons 
which have induced them to allow this universal toleration ; 
tlie humane intention of consulting the peace and happiness 
of their people ; and the pious hope, that, by such a conduct, 
they shall appease and propitiate the Deity ^ whose seat is 
in heaven. They gratefully acknowledge the many signal 
proofs which they have received of the divine favor; and 
they trust that the same Providence will forever continue 

'!' CsDcilius (de Mort, Persecut. c. 48) has preserved the Latin original ; and 
Eusebius (Hist. Eccles. 1. x. c. 5) has given a Greek translation of this perpetual 
edict, which refers to some provisional regulations. 



1G4 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

to protect the prosperity of tlie prince and people. From 
these vague and indefinite expressions of piety, three sup- 
positions may be deduced, of a different, but not of an in- 
compatible nature. The mind of Constantine might liuctu- 
ate between the Pa2:an and tlie Christian relioions. Ac- 
cording to the loose and complying notions of Polytheism, 
he might acknowledge the God of the Christians as one of 
the 'iuany deities who compose the hierarchy of heaven. Or 
perhaps he might embrace the philosophic and pleasing 
idea, that, notwithstanding the variety of names, of rites, 
and of opinions, all the sects, and all the nations of mankind, 
are united in the worship of the common Father and Creator 
of the universe.-^*' 

But the counsels of princes are more frequently influenced 
by views of temporal advantage, than by considerations of 
abstract and speculative truth. The partial and increasing 
favor of Constantine may naturally be referred to the esteem 
which he entertained for the moral character of .the Chris- 
tians ; and to a persuasion, that the propagation of the gos- 
pel would inculcate the practice of private and public virtue. 
Whatever latitude an absolute monarch may assume in his 
own conduct, whatever indulgence he may claim for his own 
passions, it is undoubtedly Ins interest that all his subjects 
should respect the natural and civil obligations of society. 
But the oj^oration of the wisest laws is imperfect and pre- 
carious. They seldom inspire virtue, they cannot always 
restrain vice. Their power is insufficient to prohibit all that 
they condemn, nor can they always jjunish the actions 
which they prohibit. The legislators of antiquity had sum- 
moned to their aid the powers of education and of opinion. 
But every princi])le which had once maintained the vigor 
and purity of Rome and Sparta, Avas long since extinguished 
in a declining and despotic empire. Philosophy still exer- 
cised her temperate SAvay over the human mind, but the 
cause of virtue dei-ived very feeble support from the influ- 
ence of the Pagan superstition. Under these discouraging 
circumstances, a prudent magistrate might observe with 
pleasure the progress of a religion which diffused among 
the j^eople a pure, benevolent, and universal system of 

10 A panegyric of Constantine, pronounced seven or eight months after the 
edict of Milan (see Gothofred. Chronolog. Leguni, p. 7, and Tillemout, llit^l. des 
Enipereurs, torn. iv. p. 246), uses tlie following remarkable expression : " Siunine 
rerum sator, (ujns tot noiinna sunt, quot lingnas gentium esse voluisti, <iuem 
enim te ipse dici velis, scire nou possunius." (rauegyv. Vet. ix. '2(i'>. lii explain- 
ing Consta-utine's progress iu the faith, Mosheim (p. U71, &c.) is ingenious, subtle, 
prolix. 



or THE KOMAX EMPIRE. 165 

ethics, adapted to every duty and every condition of life ; 
recommended as tlie will and I'eason of the supreme Deity, 
and enforced by the sanction of eternal rewards or punish- 
ments. The experience of Greek and Roman history could 
not inform the world how far the system of national man- 
ners might be reformed and improved by the precepts of a 
divine revelation ; and Constantine miglit listen with some 
confidence to the flattering, and indeed reasonable, assur- 
ances of Lactantius. The eloquent apologist seemed firmly 
to expect, and almost ventured to promise, ^Aai5 the establish- 
ment of Christianity would restore tlie innocence and felicity 
of the primitive nge ; that the worship of the true God 
would extinguish war and dissension among those who 
mutually considered themselves as the children of a com- 
mon parent ; that every imi)ure desire, every angry or sel- 
fish passion, would be restrained by the knowledge of the 
gospel; and that the magistrates might sheath the sword of 
justice among a people who would be universally actuated 
by the sentiments of truth and piety, of equity and modera- 
tion, of harmony and universal love." 

The passive and unresisting obedience, which bows under 
the yoke of authority, or even of oppression, must have 
appeared, in the eyes of an absolute monarch, the most con- 
spicuous and useful of the evangelic virtues.^^ The primi- 
tive Christians derived the institution of civil government, 
not from the consent of the people, but from the decrees of 
Heaven. The reigning emperor, though he had usurped the 
sceptre by treason and murder, immediately assumed the 
sacred character of vicegerent of the Deity. To the Deity 
alone he was accountable for the abuse of his power ; and 
his subjects were indissolubly bound, by their oath of 
fidelity, to a tyrant, who had violated every law of nature 
and society. Tlie humble Christians were sent into tlic; 
Avorld as sheep among wolves; and since they were not ])e!- 
mitted to employ force, even in the defence of their religion, 
they should be still more criminal if they were tempted to 
shed the blood of their fellow-creatures, in disputing the 
vain privileges, or the sordid possessions, of this transitory 
life. Faithful to the doctrine of the apostle, who in the 
reign of Nero had preached the duty of unconditional sub- 

1' See the elegant (lesoription of Lantantius. (Divin. InstiLut. vi. 8), wlio is 
much more perspicuous and positive than becomes a discreet jjropliet. 

1=* The political system of the Christians is explained by Grf.tins, dc; Jure Belli 
et Pacts, 1. i. c. .">, 4. Grotius was a republican and an exile, but the nilldness of 
his temx)er inclined him to support the established powers. 



166 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

mission, the Christians of the three first centuries preserved 
their conscience pure and innocent of the guilt of secret 
conspiracy, or open rebellion. While they experienced tlie 
rigor of persecution, they were never provoked either to 
meet their tyrants in the field, or indignantly to withdraw 
themselves into some remote and sequestered corner of the 
globe. ^^ The Protestants of France, of Germany, and of 
Britain, who asserted with such intrepid courage tlieir civil 
and religious freedom, have been insulted by the invidious 
comparison between the conduct of the primitive and of the 
reformed Christians. -° Perhaj^s, instead of censure, some 
applause may be due to the superior sense and spirit of our 
ancestors, who had convinced themselves that religion can- 
not abolish the unalienable rights of human nature.^^ Per- 
haps the i^atience of the primitive church may be ascribed 
to its weakness, as well as to its virtue. A sect of unwar- 
like plebeians, without leo^ders, without arras, without fortifi- 
cations, must have encountered inevitable destruction in a 
rash and fruitless resistance to the master of the Roman 
legions. But the Christians, when they deprecated the 
wrath of Diocletian, or solicited the favor of Constantine, 
could allege, with truth and confidence, that they held the 
principle of passive obedience, and that, in the space of 
three centuries, their conduct had always been conformable 
to their j^rinciples. They might add, that the throne of the 
emperors would be established on a fixed and permanent 
basis, if all their subjects, embracing the Christian doctrine, 
should learn to suffer and to obey. 

In the general order of Providence, princes and tyrants 
are considered as the ministers of Heaven,, appointed to 
rule or to chastise the nations of the earth. But sacred 
history affords many illustrious examples of the more imme- 
diate interposition of the Deity in the government of liis 
chosen people. The sceptre and the sword were committed 
to the hands of Moses, of Joshua, of Gideon, of Da\icl, of 
the Maccabees ; the virtues of those heroes were the motive 

19 Tertullian. Apolog. c. 32, 34, 35, 36. Tamen nunquam Albiniaui, nee Ni- 
griani vel Cassiani inveniri potneruiit Chrisliani. Ad Scaimlain, c. 2. If tliis as- 
seit\on be strictly true, it excludes the Cliristiau? of tliat age from all civil and 
niililary employments, which would have conipellc<l them to take an active part 
in the service of their respective governors. See Moyle's Works, vol ii. p. 349. 

20 See the artful Bossuet (Hist, des Variations de's Eglises Protestantes, torn, 
iii. pp. 210-2")^), and the malicious Bayle (tom. ii. p. (120). I vawi- Baylo, for lie 
was certainlv the author of the Avis aiix Ilef ugies ; consult the Dictionnaire 
Critique de Chauffcpi^, tom. i. part ii. p. 145. 

-1 Buchanan is the earliest, or ;it least the most celebrated, of the reformers, 
who has justilied llu^ theory of resistance. See his Dialogue de Jure llegui apud 
Seotos, tom. ii. pp. 28, 30. edit. fol. Ruddimau. 



OF THE KOMAInT EMPIRE. 167 

or the effect of tlie divine favor, the success of their arms 
was destined to achieve the deliverance or the triumph of 
the church. If the judges of Israel were occasional and 
temporary magistrates, the kings of Judah derived from the 
royal unction of their great ancestor an hereditflry and in- 
defeasible right, which could not be forfeited by their own 
vices, nor recalled by the caprice of their subjects. The 
same extraordinary j^rovidence, which was no longer con- 
fined to the Jewish people, might elect Constantine and his 
family as the protectors of the Christian world ; and the 
devout Lactantius announces, in a prophetic tone, the future 
glories of his long and universal reign.^-^ Galerius and 
Maximin, Maxentius and Licinius, were the rivals who 
shared with the favorite of Heaven the provinces of the 
empire. The tragic deaths of Galerius and Maximin soon 
gratified the resentment, and fulfilled the sanguine expecta- 
tions, of the Christians. The success of Constantine against 
Maxentius and Licinius removed the two formidable com- 
petitors who still opposed the triumph of the second David, 
and his cause might seem to claim the peculiar interposition 
of Providence. The character of tlie Roman tyrant dis- 
graced the purple and human nature ; and though the 
Christians might enjoy liis precarious favor, they were ex- 
posed, with the rest of his subjects, to the effects of his 
wanton and capricious cruelty. The conduct of Licinius 
soon betrayed the reluctance with which he had consented 
to the wise and humane regulations of the edict of Milan. 
The convocation of provincial synods was prohibited in his 
dominions ; liis Christian officers Avere ignominiously dis- 
missed ; and if he avoided the guilt, or rather danger, of a 
general persecution, his partial oppressions Avere rendered 
still more odious by the a iolation of a solemn und voluntary 
cngagement.^^ While the East, according to the lively ex- 
pression of Eusebiu's, Avas iuA^olved in the shades of infernal 
darkness, the auspicious rays of celestial light Avarmed and 
illuminated the provinces of the West. The piety of Con- 
stantine Avas admitted as an unexccpliona])le proof of the 
justice of his arms; and his use of victory confirmed the 
opinion of the Christians, that their hero was inspired, and 

22 Lactant. Diviii. IiisliUit. i. 1- Eusebius, in the course of his history, his 
life, and his oration, repeatedly inculcates the divine right of Constantine to tho 
em; lire. 

2^ Our imperfect knowledge of the persecution of Licinius is derived from 
Eusebius (Mist. Eccles. 1. x. c. S. A'^it. Constantin. 1. i. c. 49-5G, 1- ii. c. 1, 2). 
Aurelius A'ictor mentions his cruelty in general terms. 



168 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

• 

conducted, by the Lord of Hosts. The conquest of Italy 
produced a general edict of toleration ; and as soon as the 
defeat of Licinius had invested Constantine with the sole 
dominion of the Roman world, he immediately, by circular 
letters, exhorted all his subjects to imitate, without delay, 
the example of their sovereign, and to embrace the divine 
truth of Christian ity.^'^ 

The assurance that the elevation of Constantino was 
intimately connected with the designs of Providence, in- 
stilled into the minds of the Christians two o])inions, wdiich, 
by very different means, assisted the accomplishment of the 
prophecy. Their warm and active loyalty exhausted in his 
favor every resource of human industry; and they confi- 
dently expected that their strenuous efforts would be 
seconded by some divine and miraculous aid. The enemies 
of Constantine have imputed to interested motives the alli- 
ance which he insensibly contracted with the Catholic 
church, and which apparently contributed to the success of 
his ambition. In the beginning of the fourth century, the 
Christians still bore a very inadequate proportion to the in- 
habitants of the empire; but among a degenerate peoj^le, 
Avho viewed the change of masters with the indifference of 
slaves, the sj^irit and union of a religious party might assist 
the popular leader, to whose service, from a principle of 
conscience, they had devoted their lives and fortunes.?^ The 
example of his father had instructed Constantine to esteem 
and to reward the merit of the Christians; and in the dis- 
tribution of public offices, he had the advantage of strength- 
ening his government, by the choice of ministers or generals, 
in whose fidelity he could repose a just and unreserved con- 
fidence. By tiie influence of these dignified missionaries, 
the proselytes of the new faith must have multiplied in the 
court and army ; the Barbarians of Germany, who filled the 
ranks of the legions, were of a careless temper, which 
acquiesced without resistance in the religion of their com- 
mander; and when they passed the Alps, it may fairly be 
presumed, that a great number of the soldiers had already 
consecrated their swords to the service of Christ and of 

24 Euseb. in Vit. Cotistant. 1. ii. c 24-42, 48-60. 

25 In the beginning of the last century, the Papists of England were only a 
thirtieth, a,\\d the Protestants of France only a fifteenth, part of the respective 
nations, to whom tlieir spirit and power were a constant obj^'ct of apprehcntsion. 
See the relations which IJcntivoglio (who was then nuncio .V Brussels, and aiter- 
wards cardinal) transmitted to (he court of Kome (Uelazione, torn. ii. pii. 211, 
241). Bentivo,clio was curious, v» cU informed, but somewhat partial. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 169 

Constantine.^^ The habits of mankind and the interest of 
religion gradually abated the horror of Avar and bloodshed, 
which had so long prevailed among the Christians ; and in 
the councils which were assembled under the gracious pro- 
tection of Constantine, the authority of the bishops was 
seasonably employed to ratify the obligation of the military 
oath, and to inflict the penalty of excommunication on those 
soldiers Avho threw away their arms during the peace of the 
church.^^ While Constantine, in his own dominions, in- 
creased the number and zeal of his faithful adherents, he 
could depend on the support of a powerful faction in those 
provinces which were still possessed or usurped by his 
rivals. A secret disaffection was diffused amonsi: the Chris- 
tian subjects of Maxentius and Licinius ; and the resent- 
ment, which the latter did not attempt to conceal, served 
only to engage them still more dee2:)ly in the interest of his 
competitor. The regular correspondence which connected 
the bishops of the most distant provinces, enabled them 
freely to communicate their Avishes and their designs, and 
to transmit without danger any useful intelligence, or any 
pious contributions, Avhich miglit promote the service of 
Constantine, Avho publicly declared that he had taken up 
arms for the deliverance of the church. ^^ 

The enthusiasm Avhich inspired the troops, and perhaps 
the emperor himself, had sharpened their SAVords Avhile it 
satisfied their conscience. They marched to battle Avith the 
full assurance, that the same God, Avho had formerly opened 
a passage to the Israelites through the Avaters of Jordan, and 
had throAvn down the Avails of Jericho at the sound of the 
trumpets of Joshua, Avould display his A'isible majesty and 
power in the victory of Constantine. The evidence of 
ecclesiastical history is prepared to affirm, that their expec- 
tations Avere justified by the conspicuous miracle to Avhich 
the conversion of the first Christian emperor has been almost 

2'' This careless tempcrof the Germans appears almost uniformly in the history 
of the coji version of each of the tribes. The legions of Constantine were recruit- 
ed with Germans (Zosimus, 1. ii. p. 80) ; and the court eveii of his father had 
been tilled with Christians. See the first book of the Life of Constantine, ]>y 
Eusebius. 

27 Oe his qui arma projiciunt in pacr, placuit eos abstinere a comnuinione, 
Concil. Arelat, Canon, iii. The best critics apply these words to the peact of the 
church. 

2'* Eusebius always considers the second civil war against Licinius as a sort of 
religious crusade. At the invitation of the tyrant, some Christian otlicershad re- 
sumed their zones ; or, in otlu-r words, ha<l leliirned to the military service. Their 
conduct was afLerwajds censured by the twelfth canon of the Council of Nice ; 
if this particular application niay be receive<l, instead of <he loose and general 
sense of the Greek jnterpreters, Bal.-amon, Zonaras, and Alexis Aristeijus. 
See Beveridge, Pandect. Ecclts. Graic. torn. i. ix 72, tom. ii. p. 7'^, Annotation. 



170 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

unanimously ascribed. Tlie real or imaginary cause of so 
important an event, deserves and demands the attention of 
posterity; and I shall endeavor to form a just estimate of 
the famous vision of Constantine, by a distinct consideration 
of the standard^ the dream^ and the celestial sign ; by separ- 
ating the historical, the natural, and the marvellous parts of 
this extraordinary story, which, in the composition of a 
specious argument, have been artfully confounded in one 
splendid and brittle mass. 

I. An instrument of the tortures which were inflicted 
only on slaves and strangers, became an object of horror in 
the eyes of the Roman citizen ; and the ideas of guilt, of 
pain, and of ignominy, were closely united with the idea of 
the cross."^ The piety, rather than the humanity, of Con- 
stantine soon abolished in his dominions the punishment 
which the Saviour of mankind had condescended to suffer ; ^^ 
but the emperor had already learned to desj^ise the prejudices 
of his education, and of his people, before he could erect in 
the midst of Rome his own statue, bearing a cross in its 
right hand ; with an inscription, which referred the victory 
of his arms, and the deliverance of Rome, to the virtue of 
that salutary sign, the true symbol of force and courage.^ 
The same symbol sanctified the arms of the soldiers of Con- 
stantine ; the cross glittered on their helmet, was engraved 
on their shields, was interwoven into their banners ; and the 
consecrated emblems which adorned the person of the em- 
peror himself, were distinguished only by richer materials 
and more exquisite workmanship.^^ But the principal stand- 

^ Nomen ipsnm criicis absit iion modo a corpore civium Koinanornm, sed 
etiam a cogitatione, oculis, auribus. (ieeio pro Kabirio, o. 5. The C lirisliaii 
writers, Justin, IMimicius Felix, Tertiilliaii, Jerom, and Maxinms of Tiuin, iiave 
investigated with tolerable success tlie tigme or likeness of a cross in almost 
every object of natiue or art ; in tlie intersection of the meridian and equator, 
the human face, a bird flying, a man swimming, a mast and yard, a plough, a 
stavdard, &c. , &c., &c. See l^ipsius de Cruce. \.i. c. 9. 

^^See Aurelius Victor, who considers tliis law as one of the examples of Con- 
stantine's piety. An edict so honorable lo Christianity deserved a place in the 
Theodosian Code, iastead of the indirect mention of it, wliich ^eems to result 
from the comparison of the fifth and eighteenth titles of the ninth book. 

Ki Eusebius, in Vit. Constantin. 1. i. c. 40. This i^tatne, or at least the cross and 
inscription, may be ascribed with more probability to the second, or even third, 
visit of Constantine to Kome. Immediately after the defeat of INIaxentius, the 
minds of thesenate and people were scarcely ripe for this public monument. 
32 Agnoscas, regina, libens mea signa necesse est ; 

In quibus efligies crucis aut gemmata refulget 
Aut longis solido ex auro prfeferter in has! is. 
Hoc signo invictus, transmissis Alpibus Uitor 
Servitium solvit miserabile Constantius. 
***** 

Christus purpunum gemmanti textiis in auro 
Signabat Laharum, clypeorum insignia Christus 
Scripserat ; ardebat summis crux addita cristis. 

Prudent, in Symmachum, 1. ii. 464, 486, 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIEE. 171 

ard whicli displayed the triumph of tlie cross was styled the 
Labarxmi^^ an obscure, thougli celebrated, name, wliicli lias 
been vainly derived from almost all tlie lanscuaires of tlie 
world. It is described ^^ as a long pike intersected by a 
transversal beam. The silken veil, which liung down from 
the beam, was curiously iuAvrought with the images of tlie 
reigning monarch and his children. The summit of the pike 
supported a crown of gold Avhich enclosed the mysterious 
monogram, at once expressive of the figure of the cross, and 
the initial letters, of the name of Christ."'^ The safety of the 
labarum was intrusted to fifty guards, of approved A'alor and 
fidelity ; their station was marked by honors and emolu- 
ments ; and some fortunate accidents soon introduced an 
opinion, that as long as the guards of the labarum were 
engaged in the execution of their office, they were secure 
and invulnerable amidst the darts of the enemy. In the 
second civil war, Licinius felt and dreaded the power of this 
consecrated banner, the sight of which, in the distress of 
battle, animated the soldiers of Constantino with an invinci- 
ble enthusiasm, and scattered terror and dismay througli 
the ranks of the adverse legions.^° The Christian emperors, 
who resj^ected the example of Constantino, displayed in all 
their military expeditions the standard of the cross ; but 
when the degenerate successors of Theodosius had ceased to 
appear in person at the liead of their armies, the labarum 
was dej^osited as a venerable but useless relic in the palace 
of Constantino])le.^^ Its honors are still preserved on the 
medals of the Flavian family. Their grateful devotion has 
placed the monogram of Christ in the midst of the ensigns 

33 The derivation and meaning of tlio \iox(\. JAihnrum or /y(77;r)r?/?n, whicli is 
employed by Giegory Nazianzen, Anibros(\ J'rudeiitius, &c,, still reniaiji totally 
unknown, in si)ite oC the efforts of the eritics, who have inelleetually tortui-cd 
the Latin, Greek, Spanish, Celtic, Teutonic, lllyric, Armenian, «&c., in search of 
an etymolopry. See Ducange. in Gloss. I\led. et inlini, Latinitat, sub voce Labar- 
um, and Godefroy, ad Cod. Theodos. torn. ii. p. 143. 

'^ P^nseb. in \it. (Jonstantin. l.i. c. 30, .31. Baronius (Annal. Ecclcs. A. D. 312, 
Ko. 20) has engraved a representation of the l.al arum. 

'•^■> Transversa X litera, summo capite cireumflexo, Christum in scutis notat. 
Csocilius de M. P. o. 44. Cuuer (ad I\[. P. in edit. Lactant. tom. ii. p. 500), and 
IJaronius (A. D. 312, No. 25) ifave engraved from ancient monn- p p 

nn;nts several specimens, as thus, of these inonogranis, whicli be- -J— or ^\\ 
came extremely fashionable in tlie Ciiristian world: I ''1^ 

36Eu>eb. in Vit. Constantin. 1. \\. c. 7, 8, 9. He introduces the Labarum be- 
fore the Italian expedition ; but his nan ative seems to indicate that it was never 
shown at the head of an army, till Constaiitine, above ten years afterwards, de- 
clared himself the enemy of Licinius. and the (leliverer of the church. 

^^ See Cod. Theod. 1. vi. tit. xxv. Sozomen, 1. i. c. 2. Theophan. Chronograph. 
p. 11. Theoi)hane8 Ifved towards the end of the eighth centniy, almost live hnn 
dred yea' s after Constantine. The modern Greeks were not inclined to dis])lay 
in the fleld the standard of the empire and of Christianity ; and though thev de- 
pended on every superstitious hoije of i/t/eiice, the promise of viciory would have 
appeared too bold a fiction. 



172 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of Rome. The solemn ej^itliets of, safety of the republic, 
glory of the army, restoration of jniblic happiness, are equal- 
ly applied to the religious and military trophies ; and there is 
still extant a medal of the emperor Constantius, where the 
standard of the labarum is accompanied with these memor- 
able words, By this sign thou shalt conquer.^^ 

II. In all occasions of danger and distress, it was the 
practice of the primitive Christians to fortify their minds 
and bodies by the sign of the cross, which they used, in all 
their ecclesiastical rites, in all the daily occurrences of life, 
as an infallible preservative against every species of spiritual 
or temporal evil.^^ The authority of the church might alone 
have had sufficient weight to justify the devotion of Constan- 
tine, who in the same prudent and gradual progress acknowl- 
edged the truth, and assumed the symbol, of Christianity. 
But the testimony of a contemporary writer, who in a for- 
mal treatise has avenged the cause of religion, bestows on 
the piety of the emperor a more awful and sublime charac- 
ter. He affirms, with the most perfect confidence, that in 
the night which preceded the last battle against Maxentius, 
Constantine was admonished in a dream* to inscribe the 
shields of his soldiers with the celestial sign of God, the 
sacred monogram of the name of Christ; that he executed 
the commands of Heaven, and that his valor and obedience 
were rewarded by the decisive victory of the Milvian Bridge. 
Some considerations might perhaps incline a skeptical mind 
to suspect the judgment or the veracity of the rhetorician, 
whose pen, either from zeal or interest, was devoted to the 
cause of the prevailing f action. ^*^ He api^ears to have pub- 

38 The Abbe du Volsin, p. 103, <fcc., alleges several of these medals, and quotes 
a particular dissertation of a Jesuit, the Pere de Grain\ ille, on this subject. 

ay Tertulliau deCoroua, c. 3. Athauasiu?, torn. i. p. 101. 'J'he learned Jesuit 
Petaviiis (Dogmata Theolog. 1. xv, c 0, 10) has collected many similar i)a?sageson 
the virtues of the cross, which in the last age embarrassed our Protestant dis- 
putants. 

•*J Csecilius de M. p. 0. 44. It is certain, that this historical declamation was 
composed and published while I-,icinius, sovereign of the East, still preserved 
the friendship of Constantine and of the Christians. Every reader of taste must 
perceive that the style is of a very dilferent and inferior character to that of 
Laetantius; and such indeed is the judgment of Le Clerc and Lardner (Biblio- 
th^que Ancienne et Moderne, torn. iii. p. 438. Credibility of the Gospel, &c., 
•part ii. vol. vii. p. «4). Three arguments from the title of the book, and from 
the names of Donatus and Cascilius, are produced by tlie advocates for Laetan- 
tius. (See the P. Lestocq, torn. ii. pp. 40-60.) Each of these proofs is singly weak 
and defective ; but their concurrence has great weight. I have often fluctuated, 
and shall tamely follow^ the Colbert MS. in calling the author (whoever he was) 
Csecilius. 



* Manso has observed, that Gibbon ought not to have separated t/)e vision of 
Constantine from the wonderful nD)iarition in the sky, as the two wonders aie 
closely connected in Eusebius. JVIanso, Leben Constantine, p. 82— M. 



OF THE ROMAX EMPIRE. 173 

lislied his deaths of tlie ]:»ersccators at Nicomedia about 
three years after tlie Homan victory ; but the interval of a 
thousand miles, and a thousand days, Avill allow an ample 
latitude for the invention of declaimers, the credulity of 
party, and the tr.cit a])probation of the emperor himself ; who 
mi!2rht listen without indignation to a marA^ellous tale, which 
exalted his fame, and promoted his desip^ns. In favor of 
Licinius, who still dissembled his animosity to the Chris- 
tians, the same author has provided a similar vision, of a 
form of prayer, which was communicated by an angel, and 
repeated by tlie whole army before they engaged the legions 
of the tyrant Trlaximin. The frequent repetition of miracles 
serves to provoke, where it does not subdue, the reason of 
mankind ; ''^ but if the dream of Constantino is separately 
considered, it may be naturally explained either by the policy 
or the enthusiasm of the emperoi'. Whilst his anxiety for 
the approaching day, Avhich must decide the fate of the em- 
l)ire, was suspended by a short and interrupted slumber, the 
venerable form of Christ, and the well-known symbol of his 
religion, might forcibly offer themselves to the active fancy 
of a prince who reverenced tlie name, and had perhaps se- 
cretly implored the power, of the God of the Christians. As 
readily might a consummate statesman indulge himself in 
the use of one of those military stratagems, one of tliose ])ious 
frauds, which Philip and Sertorius had employed witli such 
art and effect.^^ The praeternatural origin of dreams was 
universally admitted by the nations of antiquity, and a con- 
siderable part of the Gallic army was already prepared to 
place their confidence in the salutary sign of the Christian 
religion. The secret vision of Constantino could be disproved 
only by the event ; and the intrepid hero who had passed 
the Alps and the Apcnnine, might view with careless ctespair 
the consequences of a defeat under the walls of Rome. The 
senate and peojDle, exulting in their own deliverance from 

<i Csecilius de M. P. c. 46. There seems to be some reason ?n the observation 
of M. de Voltaire (CEuvres, tom. xiv. p. 307), wlio ascribes to the success of Coii- 
stantine the superior fame of his Labarum above tlie angel of Licinius. Yet 
evej) this angel is favorably entertained by Pagi, Tillemont, Fleury. &c., who are 
fond of increasing their stock of miracles. 

*- Besides these well-known examples, Tolliiis (Preface to Boileau's translation 
of I.onginus) lias discovered a vision of Antigonus, who assured his troops that 
he had seen a pentagon (thr symbol of safety) with these words, "In this con- 
quer." But Tollius lias most inexcusably omitted to produce his authority, and 
his own character, literary as well as moral, is not free from reproach. (See 
Chauffepie, Dictionnaire Critique, tom. iv. p. 460.) Without ins-isting on the si- 
lence of Diodorus, Plutarch, Justin, &c., it may be observed that Polyajnus, 
who in a separate chapter (1. iv. c. 6) has collected nineteen military stratagems 
of Antigonus, is totally ignorant of this remarkable vision. 



174 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

an odious tyrant, acknowledged that tlie victory of Constant 
tine surpassed the powers of man, witliout daring to insinuate 
that it liad been obtained by the protection of the Gods. 
The triumphal arch, which was erected about three years 
after the event, proclaims, in ambiguous lauguage, that by 
the greatness of liis own mind, and by an instinct or impulse 
of tlie Divinity, he had saved and avenged the Roman re- 
publics^ The Pagan orator, who had seized an earlier oppor- 
tunity of celebrating the virtues of the conqueror, supposes 
that he alone enjoyed a secret and intimate commerce with 
the Supreme Being, who delegated the care of mortals to 
his subordinate deities; and tlius assigns a very plausible 
reason why the subjects of Constantine should not presume 
to embrace the new relisfion of their sovereio'u.^'* 

III. The philosopher, who with calm suspicion examines 
the dreams and omens, the miracles and prodigies, of profane 
or even of ecclesiastical history, will probably conclude, that 
if the eyes of the spectators have sometimes been deceived 
by fraud, the understanding of the readers has much more 
frequently been insulted by fiction. Every event, or appear- 
ance, or accident, wiiich seems to deviate from the ordinary 
course of nature, has been rashly ascribed to the immediate 
action of the Deity ; and the astonished fancy of the multi- 
tude has sometimes given shape and color, language and 
motion, to the fleeting but uncommon meteors of the air,^^ 
Nazarius and Eusebius are the two most celebrated orators, 
who, in studied panegyrics, have labored to exalt the glory of 
Constantine. Nine years after the Roman victory, Nazarius^® 
describes an army of diAine Avarriors, who seemed to fall 
from the sky : he marks their beauty, their spirit, their gigan- 

•*3 Instinctu Divinitatis, mentis magiiitudine. The inscription on the tri- 
umphal arch of Constantine, wliich has been copied by Baronius, Gruter, &c., 
may still be perused by every curious traveller. 

4^ Habes profecto aliquid cum ilia mente DiA'ina secretum ; qure delegata 
nostra Diis Minoribus cura uni se tibi dignatur ostendere. Panegyr. Vet. 
ix. 2. 

•*5 M. Freret (M^moires de 1* Academie des Inscriptions, tom. iv. pp. 411-437) ex- 
plains, by physical causes, jnany of the prodigies of antiquity ; and Fabricius, 
who is abused by both partie?, vainly tries to introduce the celestial cross of 
Constantine among the solar halos. Bibliothec. Grrec. tom. vi. pp. 8-29.* 

40 Kazarius inter Panegyr. Vet. x. 14, 1,5. It is unnecessary to name the mod- 
erns, who^e undistinguishing and ravenous appetite has swallowed even the 
Pagan bait of Kazarius. 



* The great difficulty in resolving it into a natural phenomenon, arises from 
the inscription; even the most heated or awe-struck imagination would hardly 
discover distinct and legible letters in a solar halo. But the inscription may 
have been a later embellishment, or an interpretation of the meaning, whicli the 
sign was construed to convey. Compare Heinichen. Excursus iu locum Eusebii, 
and the authors quoted. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 175 

tic forms, the stream of light which beamed from their 
celestial armor, their patience in suffering themselves to be 
heard, as well as seen, by mortals ; and their declaration that 
they were sent, that they flew, to tlie assistance of the great 
Constantine. For the truth of this prodigy, the Pagan 
orator appeals to the whole Gallic nation, in whose presence 
he was then speaking; and seems to hope that the ancient 
apparitions'*^ would now obtain credit from tliis recent and 
public event. The Christian fable of Eusebius, which, in the 
space of twenty-six years, might arise from the original 
dream, is cast in a much more correct and elegant mould. 
In one of the marches of Constantine, he is reported to have 
seen with his own eyes the luminous trophy of the cross, 
placed above the meridian sun, and inscribed with the fol- 
lowing words : By this conquer. This amazing object in 
the sky astonished the whole army, as well as the emperor 
himself, who was yet undetermined in the choice of a relig- 
ion : but his astonishment was converted into faitli by the 
vision of the ensuing night. Christ appeared before his eyes ; 
and dis})laying the same celestial sign of the cross, he directed 
Constantine to frame a similar standard, and to march, with 
an assurance of victory, against Maxentius and all his 
enemies.^^ The learned bishop of Caesarea appears to be 
sensible, that the recent discovery of this marvellous anecdote 
would excite some surprise and distrust among the most pious 
of his readers. Yet, instead of ascertaining the precise cir- 
cumstances of time and place, which always serve to detect 
falsehood or establish truth ; ^^ instead of collecting and re- 
cording the evidence of so many living witnesses, who must 
have been spectators of this stupendous miracle ; ^^ Eusebius 
contents himself with alleging a very singular testimony ; 
that of the deceased Constantine, who, many years after the 
event, in the freedom of conversation, had related to him 
this extraordinary incident of his own life, and had attested 

<7 The apparitions of Castor and Pollux, particularly to announce the Macedo- 
nian victory, are attested by historians and public monuments. See Cicero du Na- 
tura Deorum, ii. 2, iii. 5, G. Florus, ii. 12. Valerius Maximus, 1. i. c. f<, No 1. Yet 
the most recent of these .miracles is omitted, and indirectly denied, by Livy 
(xlv. i). 

^'^ F.usebius, 1. i. c. 28, 20, 30. The silence of t-he same Eusebius. in his Ecclesi- 
astical History, is deeply felt by those advocates for the miracle who are not ab- 
solutely callous. 

*^ The narrative of Constantine seems to imlicate, that he saw the cross in 
the sky before he passed the Alps against Maxentius. The scene has been fixed 
by provincial vanity at Treves, Besancon, &c. See Tillemont, Hist, des Em- 
pereurs, torn. iv. p. ,073. 

'"" The i)ioji8 Tillemont (M«^m. Eccles. tom. vii. p. 1317) rejects with a sigh the 
useful Acts of Artemius, a veteran and a martyr, who attests as an eye-witness 
the vision of Constantine. 



176 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

the truth of it by a solemn oath. The prudence and gratitude 
of the learned prelate forbade him to suspect the veracity of 
his victorious master; but he plainly intimates, that in a fact 
of such a nature, he sliould have refused his assent to any 
meaner authority. This motive of credibility could not sur- 
vive the power of the Flavian family ; and the celestial sio'n, 
which the Infidels might afterwards deride,^^ was disregarded 
by the Christians of the age which immediately followed the 
conversion of Constantine.*^^ But the Catholic church, both 
of the East and of the West, has adopted a prodigv, which 
favors, or seems to favor, the popular worship of the cross. 
The vision of Constantine maintained an honorable place in 
the legend of superstition, till the bold and sagacious spirit 
of criticism presumed to depreciate the triumph, and to 
arraign the truth, of the first Christian emperor.^^ 

The Protestant and j^hilosophic readers of the present 
age will incline to believe, that in the account of his own con- 
version, Constantine attested a Avilful falsehood by a solemn 
and deliberate perjury. They may not hesitate to pronounce, 
that in the choice of a religion, his mind was determined 
only by a sense of interest ; and that (according to the ex- 
pression of a profane poet^^j he used the altars of the church 

'>i Gelasius Cyzie. in Act. Concil. Nicen. 1. i. c, 4. 

52 The advocates for the vision are unable to produce a single testimony from 
the Fathers of the fourth and tifth centuries, who, in their voluminous writings, 
repeatedly celebrate the triumph of the church and of Constantine. As these 
venerable men had not any dislike to a miracle, we may suspect (and the sus- 
picion is confirmed by the ignorance of Jerom) that they were all unacquainted 
with the life of Constantine by Eusebius. This tract was recovered by the dili- 
gence of those who translated or continued his Ecclesiastical History, and who 
have represented in various colors the vi.-ion of the cross. 

5-^ Godefroy wa:; the first, who, in the year 1G43 (Not. ad Philostorgium, 1. i. c. 
6. p. 16), expressed any doubt of a miracle which had been supported with equal 
zeal by Cardinal Baronius, and the Centuriators of Magdeburgh. Since that 
time many of the Protestant critics have incliiied towards doubt and disbelief. 
The objections are urged, with great force, by M. Chauflfepie (Dictionnaire 
(Critique, tom. iv. pp. G-11) ; and, in the year 1774,'a doctor of Sorbonne, the Abbe 
du Voisin, published an apology, which deserves the praise of learning and mod- 
eration.* 

^ Lors Constantin dit ces propres paroles : 

J'ai renvers^ le culte des idoles : 

Sur les deb! is de leurs temples fumans 

Au Dieu du Ciel j'ai prodigue I'encens. 

Mais tons mes soins pour sa grandeur supreme 

N'eurent jamais d'autre objet que moi-meme ; 

Les saints autels n'etoient a mes regards 

Qu'un marchepie du trone des Cesars. 



* The first Excursus of Heinichen (in A'itam Con^tantini, p. 507) contains a full 
summary of the opinions and arguments of the later writers who have discussed 
this interminable subject. As to his conversion, where interest and inclination, 
state policy, and, if not a sincere conviction of its truth, at least a respect, 
an esteem, an awe of Christianity, thus coincided, Constantine himself wouM 
probably have been unable to trace the actual history of the workings of his own 
miiid, or to assign its real influence to each concurrent motive — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 177 

as a convenient footstool to the throne of the empire. A 
conclusion so harsh and so absolute, is not, however, war- 
ranted by our knowledge of human nature, of Constantine, 
or of Christianity. In an age of religious fervor, the most 
artful statesmen are observed to feel some part of the enthu- 
siasm which they inspire ; and the most orthodox saints as- 
sume the dangerous privilege of defending the cause of truth 
by the arms of deceit and falsehood. Personal interest is 
often the standard of our belief, as wxU as of our practice ; 
and the same motives of temporal advantage w^hich might 
influence the public conduct and professions of Constantine, 
would insensibly dispose his mind to embrace a religion so 
propitious to his fame and fortunes. His vanity was gratified 
by the flattering assurance that he had been chosen by 
Heaven to reign over the earth; success had justified his 
divine title to the throne, and that title was founded on the 
truth of the Christian revelation. As real virtue is some- 
times excited by undeserved applause, the specious piety of 
Constantine, if at first it was only specious, might gradually, 
by the influence of praise, of habit, and of example, be 
matured into serious faith and fervent devotion. The bishops 
and teachers of the new sect, whose dress and manners had 
not qualified them for the residence of a court, were admitted 
to the Imperial table ; they accompanied the monarch in his 
expeditions ; and the ascendant which one of them, an 
Egyptian or a Spaniard,^^ acquired over his mind, was im- 
puted by the Pagans to the effect of magic.^^ Lactantius, 
who has adorned the precepts of the gospel with the eloquence 
of Cicero," and Eusebius, who has consecrated the learning 
and philosophy of the Greeks to the service of religion,^^ 
were both received into the friendship and familiarity of 

L'ambition, la fureur, les delices 
Etoient mes Dieux, avoient mes sacrifices. 
I/or des Chretiens, leurs intrigues, leur sang 
Ont cimente ma fortune et mou rang. 

The poem which contains these lines may be read with pleasure, but cannot 
bo named with decency. 

'•>'> This favorite was probably the great Osius bishop of Cordova, who pre- 
ferred the pastoral care of the whole church to the government of a particular 
diocese. His character is magnificentlv, though concisely, expressed by Athana- 
sius (tom. i. p. 703). See Tillemont, Mem, Eccles. tom. vii. i)p. 524-561. Osius 
was accused, perhaps unjustly, of retiring from court with a very ample fortune. 

'"^ See Eusebius (in Vit. Constant, passim) and Zosimus, 1. ii. p. 104. 

57 The Christianity of Lactantius was of a moral rather than of a mysterious 
cast. " Erat psene rudis (says the orthodox Bull) disciplinos Christiauai, et in 
rhetorica melius quam in theologia versatus." Defensio Fidei Nicenas, sect. ii. 
c. 14. 

&** Fabricius, with his usual diligence, has collected a list of between three 
and four hundred authors quoted iji the Evangelical Preparation of Eusebius. 
See Bibl. Grsec. 1. v. c. 4, torn. vi. pp. 37-56. 

Vol. IL— 12 



178 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

their sovereign ; and those able masters of controversy could 
patiently watch the soft and yielding moments of persuasion, 
and dexterously apply the arguments wliich were tlie best 
adapted to his character and understanding. Whatever ad- 
vantages might be derived from the acquisition of an Imperial 
l)rose]yte, he was distinguished by the splendor of his purple, 
rather than by the superiority of wisdom, or virtue, from the 
many thousands of his subjects wlio had embraced the doc- 
trines of Christianity. Nor can it be deemed incredible, that 
the mind of an unlettered soldier should have yielded to the 
weight of evidence, which, in a more enlightened age, has 
satisfied or subdued the reason of a Grotius, a Pascal, or a 
Locke. In the midst of the incessant labors of his great 
office, this soldier employed, or affected to employ, the hours 
of the night in the diligent study of the Scriptures, and the 
composition of theological discourses ; which he afterwards 
pronounced in the jDresence of a numerous and applauding 
audience. In a very long discourse, which is still extant, the 
royal preacher expatiates on the various proofs of religion ; 
but he dwells with peculiar com])lacency on the Sibylline 
verses,^® and the fourth eclogue of Yirgil.^*^ Forty years be* 
fore the birth of Christ, the Mantuan bard, as if inspired by 
the celestial muse of Isaiah, had celebrated with all the pomp 
of oriental metaphor, the return of the Virgin, the fall of the 
serpent, the approaching birth of a godlike child, the off- 
spring of the great Jupiter, who should expiate the guilt of 
human kind, and govern the peaceful universe with the vir- 
tues of his father; the rise and appearance of a heavenly 
race, a primitive nation throughout the world ; and the grad- 
ual restoration of the innocence and felicity of the golden 
age. The poet? was perhaps unconscious of the secret sense 
and object of these sublime predictions, which have been 
so unworthily applied to the infant son of a consul, or a 
triumvir ; ^^ but if a more splendid, and indeed specious, 
interpretation of the fourth eclogue contributed to the con- 
version of the first Christian emi3eror, Yirgil may deserve 

50 See Constantin. Orat. ad Sanctos, c. 19, 20. He chiefly depends on a mys- 
terious acrostic, composed in the sixth age after the Deluge, by the Erythraean 
Sibyl, and translated by Cicero into Latin. The initial letters of the thirty-four 
Greek verses form this prophetic sentence : Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior 
OF THE World. 

CO In his paraphrase of Virgil, the emperor has frequently assisted and im- 
proved the literal sense of the Latin text. See Blondel des Sibylles, 1. i. c. 14, 
15, 16. 

61 The different claims of an elder and younger son of Pollio, of Julia, of 
prusus, of Marcellus, ,ire found to be incompatible with chronology, history, and 
the gpod sense of Virgil. 



OF THE KOMAX EMPIRE. 179 

to be ranked among the most successful missionaries of the 
gospel.^^ 

The awful mysteries of the Christian faith and worship 
were concealed from the eyes of strangers, and even of cat- 
echumens, with an affected secrecy, which served to excite 
their wonder and curiosity. ^^ But tlie severe rules of disci- 
pline whicli the prudence of the bishops had instituted, were 
relaxed by the same prudence in favor of an Imperial ])ros- 
elyte, whom it was so important to allure, by every gentle 
condescension, into the pale of the church ; and Constantine 
was permitted, at least by a tacit dispensation, to enjoy 
most of the privileges, before he had contracted any of the 
obligations of a Christian. Instead of retiring from the 
congregation, when the voice of the deacon dismissed the 
profane multitude, he prayed with the faithful, disputed 
Avith the bishops, preached on the most sublime and intricate 
subjects of theology, celebrated with sacred rights the vigil 
of Easter, and publicly declared himself, not only a par- 
taker, but, in some measure, a ]^riest and hierophant of the 
Christian mysteries.^^ The pride of Constantine might as- 
sume, and his services liad deserved, some extraordinary 
distinction : an ill-timed rio-or mio-ht have blasted the un- 
ripened fruits of his conversion ; and if the doors of the 
church had been strictly closed against a prince who had' 
deserted the altars of the gods, the master of the empire 
would have been left destitute of any form of religious wor- 
ship. In his last visit to Rome, he piously disclaimed and 
insulted the superstition of his ancestors, by refusing to lead 
the military procession of the equestrian order, and to offer 
the public vows to the Jupiter of the Capitoline Hill.^* 
Many years before his baptism and death, Constantine had 
proclaimed to the world, that neither his person nor his im- 

C2 See Lowth de Sacra Poesi Hebrseorum Prselect. xxi. pp. 289-293. In tlie ex- 
amination of the fourth eclogue, the respectable bishop of Londoli has displayed 
learning, taste, ingenuity, and a temperate enthusiasm, which exalts his fancy 
without degrading his judgment. 

'^^ Tlie distinction between the public and the secret parts of divine service, 
the mlssa catechumenoram and the mlssa Jidelium, and the mysterious veil which 
piety or policy had cast over the latter, are very judiciously explained by Thiers, 
Exposiiion du Saint Sacrament, 1. i. c. 8-12, pp. 59-91 ; but as, on this subject, the 
Papists may reasonably be suspected, a Protestant reader will depend with more 
contidence on the learned Bingham, Antiquities, 1. x. c. 5. 

'* See Eusebius in Vit. Const. 1. iv. c. 15-32, and the whole tenor of Constan- 
tino's Sermon. The faith and devotion of the emperor has furnished Baronius 
with a specious argument in favor of his early baptism.* 

^ Zosimus, I. ii. p. 105. 



* Compare Heinichen, Excursus iv. et. v., where these questio^is are exam- 
ined with candor and acuteiiess, and with constant reference to the opinions of 
more modern writers.— M. 



180 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

age should ever more be seen within the walls of an idola- 
trous temple ; while he distributed througli the provinees a 
variety of medals and pictures, which represented the em- 
peror in an humble and sujopliant posture of Christian de- 
votion. ®^ 

The pride of Constantine, wdio refused the privileges of a 
catecliumen, cannot easily be explained or excused ; but the 
delay of his baptism may be justified by the maxims and the 
practice of ecclesiastical antiquity. The sacrament of baj)- 
tism*''' was regularly administered by the bishop himself, 
with his assistant clergy, in the cathedral church of the dio- 
cese, during the fifty days between the solemn festivals of 
Easter and Pentecost ; and this holy term admitted a 
numerous band of infants and adult persons into the bosom 
of the church. The discretion of parents often suspended 
the baptism of their children till they could understand the 
obligations which they contracted ; the severity of ancient 
bishops exacted from the new converts a novitiate of two or 
three years ; and the catechumens themselves, from different 
motives of a temporal or a spiritual nature, were seldom im- 
patient to assume the character of perfect and initiated 
Christians. Tiie sacrament of baptism was supposed to con- 
tain a full and absolute expiation of sin ; and the soul was 
instantly restored to its original purity, and entitled to the 
promise of eternal salvation. Among the proselytes of 
Christianity, there were many who judged it imprudent to 
precipitate a salutary rite, which could not be repeated ; to 
throw away an inestimable privilege, which could never be 
recovered. By the delay of their baptism, they could ven- 
ture freely to indulge their passions in the enjoyments of 
this world, while they still retained in their own hands the 
means of a sure and easy absolution. ^^ The sublime theory 

66 Eusebius in Vit. Constant. 1. iv. c. 15, 16. 

67 Tlie theory and practice of Antiquity, with regard to the sacrament of l>ap- 
tism, have been copiously explained by Dom Chardon. Hist, des Sacreniciis, 
torn. i. pp. '.i-iOo ; Dom Martenue de Ritibus Ecclesije Antiquis, torn, i, ; and by 
Bingham, in the tenth and eleventh books of his Christian Antiquities. One 
circumstance may be observed, in wliich the modern churches have materially 
departed from the an<'ient custom. The sacrament of baptism (even when it 
was administered to infants) was immediately followed by confirmation and the 
holy communion. - 

^* The Fathers, who censured this criminal delay, could not deny the certain 
and victorious efftcacy even of a death-bed baptism. The ingenious rhetorio of 
Chrysostom could find only three arguments against these prudent Christians. 
1. That we should love and pursue virtue for her own sake, and not merely for 
the rewai'd. 2. That we may be surprised by <ieath without an opportunity of 
baptism. 3. That although we shall be placed in heaven, we shall only twinkle 
like little stars, when compared to the suns of righteousness who have run their 
appointed course with labor, with success, and with glory. Chrysostom in Epist. 
ad Hebraeos, Homil. xiii. apud Chardon, Hist, des Sacremens, torn. i. p. 49. I be- 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 181 

of the gospel had made a much fainter impression on the 
heart than on the understanding of Constantine liimself. He 
pursued the great object of his ambition through tlie dark 
and bloody paths of war and policy ; and, after the victory, 
he abandoned himself, without moderation, to the abuse of 
his fortune. Instead of asserting his just superiority above 
the imperfect heroism and profane ])liiloso])hy of Trajan and 
the Antonines, the mature age of Constantine forfeited the 
reputation which he had acquired in his youth. As he grad- 
ually advanced in the knowledge of truth, he proportionably 
declined in the practice of virtue ; and the same year of his 
reign in which he convened the council of Nice, was pollut- 
ed by the execution, or rather murder, of his eldest son. 
This date is alone sufficient to refute the ignorant and mali- 
cious suggestions of Zosimus,®® who affirms, that, after the 
death of Crispus, the remorse of his father accepted from the 
ministers of Christianity the expiation which he had A^ainly 
solicited from the Pagan pontiffs. At the time of the death 
of Crispus, the emperor could no longer hesitate in the choice 
of a religion ; he could no longer be ignorant that the church 
was possessed of an infallible remedy, though he chose to 
defer the application of it till the approach of death had re- 
moved the temptation and dan2:er of a relapse. The bishops 
whom he summoned, in his last illness, to the palace of Ni- 
comedia, were edified by the fervor with which he requested 
and received the sacrament of baptism, by the solemn pro- 
testation that the remainder of his life should be worthy of 
a disciple of Christ, and by his humble refusal to wear the 
Imperial j^urple after he had been clothed in the white gar- 

lieve that this delay of baptism, though attended with the most pernicious con- 
sequences, was never condemned by any jreneial or provincial council, or by any 
public act or declaration of the church. The zeal of the bishops was easily kin- 
dled on nnich slighter occasions.* 

<" Zosimns, 1. ii. p. 104. For this disingenuous falsehood he has deserved and 
experienced the luirshest treatment from all the ecclesiastical writers, except 
CardiTi.-vl Baronius (A. D. .324, No. 15-28), who had occasion to employ the infidel 
on a particular service against the Arian Eusebius.f 



* This passage of Chrysostom, though not in his more forcible manner, is not 
quite f;iirly rejjresented. He is stronger-in other places, in Act. Plom. xxiii. — and 
lIoMi. i. Compare, likewise, the sermon of (iregory of Ny^sa on th s subject, and 
Gregory Nazia^izen. After all, to ihose who believed in the efficacy of briptism, 
what argument could be more conclusive than the danger of dying without it? 
Orat. xl.— M. 

t lleyne, in a valuable note on this passage of Zosimus, has shown decisively 
that this malicious way of accounting for the conversion o£ ( ,onst:a!itine was not 
an invention of Zosimus. It appears to have been the current calumny, eagerly 
adopted and propagated by the exasperated Pagan party. Keitemeier, a later 
editor of Zosimus, whose notes are retained in the recent edition, in the collec- 
tion of the Byzantine historians, has a disquisition on 1 he passage, as candid, but 
not more conclusive than some which have preceded him. — M. 



182 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

ment of a Neophyte. The example and reputation of Con- 
stantine seemed to countenance the delay of baptism.'^ 
Future tyrants were encouraged to believe, that the innocent 
blood which they might shed in a long reign would instantly 
be washed away in the waters of regeneration ; and the 
abuse of religion dangerously undermined the foundations of 
moral virtue. 

The gratitude of the church has exalted the virtues and 
excused the failings of a generous patron, who seated Chris- 
tianity on the throne of the Roman world ; and the Greeks, 
who celebrate the festival of the Imperial saint, seldom men- 
tion the name of Constantine without addinjr the title of 
equal to the Apostles?^ Such a comparison, if it allude to 
the character of those divine missionaries, must be imputed 
to the extravagance of impious flattery. But if the parallel 
be confined to the extent and number of their evangelic vic- 
tories, the success of Constantine might perhaps equal that 
of the Apostles themselves. By the edicts of toleration, he 
removed the temporal disadvantages which had hitherto re- 
tarded the ])rogrcss of Christianity ; and its active and nu- 
merous ministers received a free ])ermission, a liberal encour- 
agement, to recommend the salutary truths of revelation by 
every argument which could affect the reason or piety of 
mankind. The exact balance of the two religions continued 
but a moment ; and the piercing eye of ambition and avarice 
soon discovered, that the profession of Christianity might 
contribute to the interest of the present, as well as of a fu- 
ture life."^ The hopes of wealth and honors, the example of 
an emperor, Iiis exhortations, his irresistible smiles, diffused 
conviction among the venal and obsequious crowds which 
usually fill the apartments of a palace. The cities which 
signalized a forward zeal by the voluntary destruction of 
their temples, were distinguished by municipal privileges, 
and rewarded with popular donatives ; and the new capital 
of the East gloried in the singular advantage that Constan- 
tinople was never profaned by the worship of idols."^ As 

"" Eusebius, 1. iv. c. 61, 62, 63. The bishop of Caesarea supposes the salvation 
of Constaniiue with the most perfect coutidence. 

■' See Tillemont, Hist, des Empereurs, toin. iv. p. 429. The Greeks, the Rus- 
sians, and, in the darker ages, the Latins themselves, have been desirous of i:)]ac- 
ing Constantine in the catalogue of saints. 

•2 See the third and fourth books of his life. He was accustomed to say, that 
whether Christ was preached in pretence, or in truth, he should still rejoice (1. 
iii. c. .08). 

"3 M. de Tillemont (Hist, des Empereurs, torn. iv. pp. 374^ 616) has de- 
fended, with strength and spirit, the virgin purity of Constantinople against 
some malevolent insinuations of the Pagan Zosimus. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 183 

tlie lower ranks of society are governed by imitation, the con- 
version of those wlio possessed any eminence of birth, of 
power, cr of riches, was ^0(;n followed by dependent multi- 
tiidesJ^ The salvation of the common ])eo])le was purchased 
at an easy rate, if it be true that, in one year, twelve thou- 
sand men were baptized at Rome, besicies a proportionable 
number of women and children, and that a wiiite garment, 
with twenty pieces of gold, had been promised by the em- 
peror to every convert."^^ The powerful influence of Con-' 
stantine was not circumscribed by the narrow limits of his 
life, or of his dominions. The education which he bestowed 
on Ids sons and nephews secured to the empire a race of 
princes, whose faith was still more lively and sincere as they 
imbibed, in their earliest infancy, the spirit, or at least the 
doctrine, of Christianity. War and commerce had spread 
the knowledge of the gospel beyond the confines of the 
Roman ])rovinces; and the Barbarians, who had disdained 
an humble and proscribed sect, soon learned to esteem a re- 
ligion which had been so lately embraced by the greatest 
monarch, and the most civilized nation, of the globe.'*^ The 
Goths and Germans, who enlisted under the standard of 
Rome, revered the cross which glittered at the head of the 
legions,»and their fierce countrymen received at the same 
time the lessons of faith and of humanity. The kings of 
Iberia and Armenia * worshipped the god of their protector ; 

"!* The author of the llistoire Politique et Philosophique des deux Indes (torn. 
i, p. 0) coiulemiis a law of Coiistiuitiue, wliich gave freedom to all the slaves 
who should eulbraoe Christiauity. 1 lie emperor did indeed publish a law, which 
restrained the fJews from circumcit^ing. perhaps from keeping, any Christian 
slave. (Euseb. in Vit. Cons^tant. 1. iv. c, 27, and Cod. Theod. 1. xvi. tit. ix., with 
Godefroy's Commentary, torn. vi. p. 247.) But this inipeifect exception related 
only to the Jews ; and the great body of slaves, who were the property of Chris- 
tian or Pagan masters, could not improve their temporal condition by changing 
their religion. lam ignorant by what guides the Abbe Kaynal wiis deceived; 
as the total absence of quotations is the unpardonable blemish of his entertain- 
ing history. 

'"See Acta Sti Silvestri, and Hist. Eccles. Nicephor. Callist. 1. vii. c. 34. ap. 
Baronium Annal. Eccles- A. D. 324, No. 67, 74. Such evidence is contemptible 
enough ; but these circumstances are in themselves so probable tliat the learned 
Dr. Howell (History of the World, vol. iii. p. 14) has not scrupled to adopt 
them. 

'*> The conversion of the Barbarians under the reign of Constantine is cele- 
brated by the Ecclesiastical historians. (See Sozomen, 1. ii. c. 6^ and Theodoret. 1. 
i. c. 23, 24.) But Rutinus, the Latin translator of Euscbius, deserves to be consid- 
ered as an original authority. His information was curiously collected from one 
of the companions of the Apostle of ^Ethiopia, and from Bacurius, an Iberian 
prince, who was count of the domestics. Father INIamachi has given an ample 
compilation on the progress of Christianity, in the first and second volumes of 
his great but imperfect work. 



* According to the Georgian chronicles, Iberia (Georgia) was converted by the 
virgin Nino, who eit'ected an extraordinarj'^ cure on the wife of the king, Mihran. 
The temple of the god Aramazt, or Armaz, not far from the capital Mtskitha, 



184 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

and their subjects, who have invariably preserved the name 
of Christians, soon formed a sacred and perpetual connection 
with their Roman brethren. The Christians of Persia were 
suspected, in time of war, of preferring their religion to their 
country ; but as long as peace subsisted between the two 
empires, the persecuting spirit of the Magi was effectually 
restrained by the interposition of Constantino.'^ The rays 
of the gospel illuminated the coast of India. The colonies 
of Jews, who had penetrated into Arabia and Ethiopia,''* op- 
posed the progress of Christianity ; but the labor of the mis- 
sionaries was in some measure facilitated by a previous 
knowledge of the Mosaic revelation ; and Abyssinia still re- 
veres the memory of Frumentius,* who, in the time of Con- 
stantino, devoted his life to the conversion of those seques- 
tered regions. Under the reign of his son Constantius, 
Theophilus,''^ who was himself of Indian extraction, was in- 
vested with the double character of ambassador and bishop. 
He embarked on the Red Sea with two hundred horses of 
the purest breed of Cappadocia, which were sent by the em- 
peror to the prince of the Sabseans, or Homerites. Theo- 
philus was intrusted with many other useful or curious pre- 
sents, which might raise the admiration, and conciliate the 

" See, in Eusebius (in Yit. Constant. 1. iv. c. 9), the pressing and pathetic epis- 
tle of Constantine in favor of his Christian brethren of Persia. 

^8 See Basnage, Hist, des Juifs, torn. vii. p. 182, torn. viii. p. 333, torn. ix. p. 
810. The curious diligence of this writer pursues the Jewish exiles to the ex- 
tremities of the globe. 

7i* Tiieophiliis had been given in his infancy as a hostage by his countrymen of 
the Isle of Diva, and was etlucated by the Romans in learning and piety. The 
Maldives, of which Male, or Diva, may be the capital, are a cluster of 1900 or 
2000 minute islands in the Indian Ocean. The ancients were imperfectly ac- 
quainted with the Maldives : but they are described in the two Mahometan trav- 
ellers of the ninth century, published by Renaudot, Geograph. Nubiensis, p. 30, 31. 
D'PIerbelot, Bjbliothe^iue Orientale, p. 704. Hist. Generale des Voyages, tom. 
viii.t 



■was destroyed, and the cross erected in its place. Le Beau, i. 292, with. St. Mar- 
tin's Notes. 

St. Martin has likewise clearly shown (St. Martin, Add. to Le Beau, i. 291) 
that Armenia was the lirst nation which embraced Christianity (Addition to Le 
Beau, i. 7fi, and M^moires sur I'Armenie, i, 3ito). Gibbon himself suspected this 
truth.— " Instead of maintaining that the conversion of Armenia was not at- 
tempted with any degree of success, till the sceptre was in the hands of an or- 
thodox emperor," I ought to have said, that the seeds oL the faith were deeply 
sown during the season of the last and greatest persecution, that many Roman 
exiles might assist the labors of Gregory, and that the renowned Tividates, tlie 
hero of the East, may dispute witli Constantine the honor of being the lirst sov- 
ereign who embraced the Christian religion. Vindication, Misc. Works, iv. 
577.— M. 

Abba Salama, or Fremonatos, is mentioned in the Tareek Negushti, or 
Chronicle of the kings of Abyssinia. Salt's Travels, vol. ii. p. 464. — M. 

t See the dissertation of RI. Letronne on this question. He conceives that 
Theophilus was born in the Island of Dalilak, in the Arabian Gulf. His em- 
bassy was to Abyssinia rather than to India. Letronne, Materiaux pour I'Hist. 
du Christianisme en Egypte, Indie, et Abyssinie. Paris, 1832, 3d Dissert.— M. 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. 185 

frieiiclship, of the Barbarians ; and he successfully employed 
several years in a j^astoral visit to the churches of the torrid 
zone.^*^ 

Tlie irresistible power of the Roman emperors was dis- 
played in the im])ortant and dangerous change of the na- 
tional religion. The terrors of a military force silenced the 
faint and unsupported murmurs of the Pagans, and there 
was reason to expect, that the cheerful submission of the 
Christian clergy, as well as people, would be the result of 
conscience and gratitude. It was long since established, as 
a fundamental maxim of the Roman constitution, that 
every rank of citizens was alike subject to the laws, and 
that the care of religion was the right as well as duty of the 
civil magistrate. Constantine and his successors could not 
easily persuade themselves that they had forfeited, by their 
conversion, any branch of the Imperial prerogatives, or that 
they were incapable of giving laws to a religion which 
they had protected and embraced. The emperors still con- 
tinued to exercise a su]^reme jurisdiction over the ecclesias- 
tical order ; and the sixteenth book of the Theodosian code 
represents, under a variety of titles, the authority wliich 
they assumed in the government of tlie Catholic church. 

But the distinction of the sj^iritual and temporal 
j^owers,^^ which had never been imposed on the free spirit 
of Greece and Rome, was introduced and confirmed by the 
legal establishment of Christianity. The office of supreme 
pontiff, which, from the time of ISTuma to that of Augustus, 
had always been exercised by one of the most eminent of 
the senators, was at length united to the Imperial dignity. 
The first magistrate of the state, as often as he was prompted 
by superstition or policy, performed with his own hands the 
sacerdotal functions ; ^^ nor was there any order of priests, 
either at Rome or in the provinces, Avho claimed a more 
sacred character among men, or a more intimate communi- 
cation with the gods. But in the Christian cliurch, which 
intrusts the service of the altar to a perpetual succession of 

80 Pbilostorgius, 1. iii. c. 4, 5, 6, with Godefroy's learned observations. The 
historical narrative is soon lost in an inquiry concerning the seat of Paradise, 
strange monsters, &c. 

<>^ See the epistle of Osius, ap. Athanasium, vol. i. p. 840. The public remon- 
strance which Osius was forced to address to the son, contained the same princi- 
ples of ecclesiastical and civil government which he had secretly instilled into 
the mind of the father. 

8- M. de la Bastie (M^moires de I'Academie des Inscriptions, torn. xv. pp. 
38-61) has evidently proved, that Augustus and his successors exercised in per- 
son all the sacred functions of pontifex maximus, or high priest, of the Roman 
empire. 



186 THE DECLINE AND TALL 

consecrated ministers, the monarch, whose spiritual rank is 
less lionorable than th.at of tlie meanest deacon, was seated 
below the rails of the sanctuary, and confounded with the 
rest of the faithful multitude.^^ The emperor might be 
saluted as the father of his peo])le, but lie ovred a filial 
duty and reverence to the fathers of the church ; and the 
same marks of respect, which Constantine had paid to the 
persons of saints and confessors, were soon exacted by the 
pride of the episcopal order.^^ A secret conflict between the 
civil and ecclesiastical jurisdictions embarrassed the oper- 
ations of the Roman government; and a pious emperor was 
alarmed by the guilt and danger of touching with a profane 
hand the ark of the covenant. The separation of men into 
the two orders of the clergy and of the laity was, indeed, 
familiar to many nations of antiquity ; and the priests of 
India, of Persia, of Assyria, of Judea, of -^thioi^ia, of Egypt, 
and of Gaul, derived from a celestial origin the temporal 
power and possessions which they had acquired. These 
venerable institutions had gradually assimilated themselves 
to the manners and government of their respective coun- 
tries f^ but the opposition or contempt of the civil power 
served to cement the discipline of the primitive church. 
The Christians had been obliged to elect their own mag- 
istrates, to raise and distribute a peculiar revenue, and to 
regulate the internal policy of their republic by a code of 
laws, which were ratified by the consent of the people and 
the practice of three hundred years. When Constantine 
embraced the faith of the Christians he seemed to contract 
a perpetual alliance with a distinct and independent society ; 
and the privileges granted or confirmed by that emperor, or 
by his successors, were accepted, not as the precarious favors 
of the court, but as the just and inalienable rights of the 
ecclesiastical order. 

*3 Something of a contrary practice had insensibly prevailed in the church of 
Constantinople; but the rigid Ambrose commanded Theodosius to retire below 
the rails, and taught him to know the dilference between a king and a priest. See 
Theodoret, 1. v. c. 18. 

"* At the table of the emperor Maximus, Martin, bishop of Tours, received the 
cup from an attendant, and gave it to the presbyter, his companion, before he 
allowed the emperor to drink ; the empress waited on Martin at table. Sulpiti- 
us Severus, in Vit. Sli Martin, c. 2 ', and Dialogue ii. 7. Yet it may be dov.bted 
whether these extraordinary compliments were paid to the bishop or the saint. 
The honors usually granted to the former character may be seen in Bingham's 
Antiquities, 1. ii. c 9, and Vales, ad Theodoret, 1. iv. c. 6' See the haughty cere- 
monial which Leontius, bishop of Tripoli, imposed on the empress. Tillemont, 
Hist, des Empereurs, tom. iv. p. 754. (Patres^ Apostol. torn. ii. p. 179). 

85 Plutarch, in his treatise of Tsis and Osiris, informs us, that the kings of 
Egypt, who were not already priests, were initiated, after their election, into the 
sacerdotal order. 



OT THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 187 

The Catholic church was administered by the spiritual 
and legal jurisdiction of eighteen hundred bishops f^ of 
whom one thousand were seated in the Greek, and eight 
hundred in the Latin, provinces of the empire. The extent 
and boundaries, of their respective dioceses had been vari- 
ously and accidentally decided by the zeal and success of 
the first missionaries, by the wishes of the people, and by 
the propagation of the gos])el. Episcopal churches were 
closely planted along the banks of the Nile, on the sea-coast 
of Africa, in the proconsular Asia, and through the southern 
provinces of Italy. The bishops of Gaul and Spain, of 
Thrace and Pontus, reigned over an ample territory, and 
delegated their rural suffragans to execute the subordinate 
duties of the pastoral office.^'^ A Christian diocese might be 
spread over a province, or reduced to a village ; but all the 
bishops possessed an equal and indelible character ; they all 
derived the same powers and privileges from the apostles, 
from the people and from the laws. While the civil and 
Tnilitary professions were separated by the policy of Con- 
stantine, a new and perpetual order of ecclesiastical minis- 
ters, always respectable, sometimes dangerous, was estab- 
lished in the church and state. The important review of 
their station and attributes may be distributed under the fol- 
lowing heads : I. Popular Election. II. Ordination of the 
Clergy. III. Property. IV. Civil Jurisdiction. V. Spiritual 
censures. VI. Exercise of public oratory. VII. Privilege of 
legislative assemblies. 

I. The freedom of election subsisted long after the legal 
establishment of Christianity ; ^^ and the subjects of Rome 

86 The numbers are not ascertained by any ancient writer or original catalogue ; 
for the partial lists of the eastern churches are comparatively modern. The pa- 
tient diligence of Charles a Sto Paolo, of J.,uke Holstenius, and of Bingham, has 
laboriously investigated all the episcopal sees of the Catholic church, which was 
almost commensurate with the Koman empire. The ninth book of the Christian 
Antiquities is a very accurate map of ecclesiastical geography. 

8? On the subject of rural bishops, or Chorepiscopi, who voted in synods, and 
conferred the minor orders, see Thomassin, Discipline de l'Eglis(i, torn. i. p. 447, 
&c., and Chardon, Hist, des Sacremens, tom. v. p. 395, Sec. liiey do not appear 
till the fourth century; and tliis equivocal character, which had excited the jeal- 
ousy of the prelates, was abolished before the end of the tenth, both in the East 
and the West. 

S8 l'>!iomassin (Discipline de l'E<rlise, tom. ii. 1- ii. c 1-8, pp. G73-721) has copious- 
ly treated of the election of bishops during the five first ceiituries, both in the 
East and in the West ; but he shows a very partial bias in favor of the episcopal 
aristocracy. Bingham (1. iv. c. 2) is moderate ; and Chardon (Hist, des Sacremens, 
tom. V. pp. 108-128) is very clear and concise.* 



* This freedom was extremely limited, and soon annihilated : already, from 
the third century, the deacons were no longer nominated by the members of the 
community, but by the bishops. Although it appears by the letters of Cyprian, 
that even in his time, no priest could be elected without the consent of the com- 



188 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

enjoyed in the church the privilege which they had lost in 
the republic, of choosing the magistrates whom they were 
bound to obey. As soon as a bishop liad closed his eyes, 
the metropolitan issued a commission to one of his suffingans 
to administer the vacant see, and prepare, witliiu a liiii.ted 
time, the future election. The riofht of votinir was vested 
in the inferior clergy, who were best qualified to judge of the 
merit of the candidates; in the senators or nobles of the city, 
all those who were distinguished by their rank or property ; 
and finally in the whole body of the people, who, on the 
appointed day, flocked in multitudes from the most remote 
parts of the diocese,^^ and sometimes silenced, by their tu- 
multuous acclamations, the voice of reason and the laAvs of 
discipline. These acclamations might accidentally fix on 
the head of the most deserving competitor ; of some ancient 
presbyter, some holy monk, or some layman, conspicuous 
for his zeal and piety. But the episcopal chair was solicited, 
especially in the great and opulent cities of the empire, as 
a temporal rather tlran as a spiritual dignity. The interested 
views, the selfish and angry passions, the arts of perfidy and 
dissimulation, the secret corruption, the open and even 
bloody violence w^iich had formerly disgraced the freedom 
of election in the commonwealths of Greece and Rome, too 
often influenced the choice of the successors of the apostles. 
While one of the candidates boasted the honors of his family, 
a second allured his judges by the delicacies of a plentiful 
table, and a third, more guilty than his rivals, offered to 
share the plunder of the church among the accomplices of his 
sacrilegious hopes.^*^ The civil as Avell as ecclesiastical laws 
attempted to exclude the populace from this solemn and im- 
portant transaction. The canons of ancient discipline, by 
requiring several episcopal qualifications of age, station, &c., 
restrained, in some measure, the indiscriminate caprice of 
the electors. The authority of the provincial bishops, who 
were assembled in the vacant church to consecrate the 

89 Incredibilis multitudo, non solum ex eo oppido (Tours), sed eliam ex viciiiis 
urbibus ad sulfragia, fereiida conveiierat, &c. S;ilpiciiis Severus, in Vit. IVIartiii. 
c. 7. The council of Laodicea (canon xiii.) prohibits mobs an«l lunults; and 
Justinian confines the right of election to the nobility. Novel, cxxiii. 1. , 

yj The epistles of Sidonius Apollinaris (iv. 25, vii. 5, P) exhibit some of the 
scandals of the Galilean church ; and Gaul was less polished and less corrupt 
than the East. 



munity (Ep. 08\ that election was far from being altogether free. The bishop- 
proposed to his parishioners the candidate whom he had chosen, and they were 
permitted to make such objections as miglit be suggested by his conduct and 
morals. (St. Cyprian, Ep. 33.) They lost this last right towards the middle of 
the fourth century. — G. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 189 

choice of the people, was interposed to moderate their 
passions, and to correct their mistakes. The bishops could 
refuse to ordain an unworthy candidate, and the rage of 
contendins: factions sometimes accepted their impartial me- 
diation. The submission, or the resistance, of the clergy 
and people, on various occasions, afforded different prece- 
dents, which were insensibly converted into positive laws 
and provincial customs ; ®^ but it was everywhere admitted, 
as a fundamental maxim of religious policy, that no bishop 
could be imposed on an orthodox church, without the con- 
sent of its members. The emperors, as the guardians of the 
public peace, and as the first citizens of Kome and Constan- 
tinople, might effectually declare their Avishes in the choice 
of a primate : but those absolute monarchs respected the free- 
dom of ecclesiastical elections ; and while they distributed 
and resumed the honors of the state and arm}^, they allowed 
eighteen hundred perpetual magistrates to receive their im- 
portant offices from the free suffrages of the people.^'-^ It 
was agreeable to the dictates of justice, that these mag- 
istrates should not desert an honorable station from which 
they could not be removed, but the wisdom of councils 
endeavored, without much success, to enforce the residence 
and to prevent the translation, of bishops. The discipline 
of the West was indeed less relaxed than that of the East ; 
but the same passions which made those regulations nec- 
essary, rendered them ineffectual. The reproaches which 
angry prelates have so vehemently urged against each other, 
serve only to expose their common guilt, and their mutual 
indiscretion. 

II. The bishops alone possessed the faculty of spiritual 
generation : and this extraordinary privilege might compen- 
sate in some degree, for the painful celibacy ^^ which was 

0^ A compromise was sometimes introduced by law or by consent ; either the 
bishops or the peoj^le chose one of the three candidates who had been named by 
the other parly. 

'•>2 All the examples quoted by Thomassin (Discipline do I'Eglise. torn. ii. 1. ii. 
c. vi. pp. 704-714) appear to be extraordinary acts of power, and even of oppression. 
The confirmation of the bishop of Alexandria is mentioned by Philostorgius as a 
more regular proceeding. (Hist. P2ccles. 1. ii. 11.)* 

92 The celibacy of the clergy during the first five or six centuries, is a subject 
of discipline, and indeed of controversy, Avhich has been very diligently exam- 
ined. See, in jiarticular, Thomassin, Discipline de I'Eglise, tom. i. 1. ii. c. Ix. 



* The statement of Planck is more consistent with history : " From the 
middle of the fourth century, the bishops of some of the larger churches, ))arlic- 
ularly those of the Imperial resideiue. were almost always chosen under tlie in- 
fluence of the court, and often directly and immediately ncnninated by the 
emperor." Planck, (leschichte der Christlich-kirchlichen Gesellschafts-verfas- 
sung, vol. i. p. 263 — M. 



190 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

imposed as n virtue, as a duty, and at length as a positive 
obligation. The religions of anti'quity, which established a 
separate order of priests, dedicated a holy race, a tribe or 
family, to the perpetual service of the gods.^* Such institu- 
tions were founded for possession, rather than conquest. 
The children of the priests enjoyed, with proud and indolent 
security, their sacred inheritance ; and the fiery spirit of 
enthusiasm was abated by the cares, the pleasures, and the 
endearments of domestic life. But the Christian sanctuary 
was open to every ambitious candidate, who aspired to its 
heavenly promises or temporal possessions. The office of 
priests, like that of soldiers or magistrates, was strenuously 
exercised by those men, Avhose temper and abilities had 
prompted them to embrace the ecclesiastical profession, or 
w^ho had been selected by a discerning bishop, as the best 
qualified to promote the glory and interest of the church. The 
bishops ^^ (till the abuse was restrained by the prudence of the 
laws) might constrain the reluctant, and protect the dis- 
tressed ; and the imposition of hands forever bestowed some of 
the most valuable privileges of civil society. The whole body 
of the Catholic clergy, more numerous perhaps than the 
legions, was exempted t by the emperors from all service, 

Ixi. pp. 886-902, and Cingliam's Antiquities. 1. iv. c. 5. By each of these learned 
but partial critics, one-half of the truth is produced, and the other is concealed.* 

s^ Diodorus Siculus attests and approves the hereditary succession of the priest- 
hood among the Egyptians, the Chaldeans, and the Indians (1. i. p. 8-1, 1. ii. pp. 142, 
153, edit. Wesseling). The magi are described by Auimianus as a very numerous 
family : *' Per soecula multaad praesens unaeademque prosapia multitudo creata, 
Deorumcultibus dedicata." (xxiii. 6.) Ausonius celebrates the .SV/r/^s Druldamm 
(De Professorib. Burdigal. iv.) ; but we may infer from the remark of Cajsar (vi. 13), 
that in the Celtic hierarchy, some room wns left for choice and emulation. 

'-»y The subject of the vocation^ ordination, obedience, &c. , of tlie clergy, is 
laboriously discussed by Thomassin (Discipline de I'Eglise, tom. ii. pp. 1-83) and 
Bingham (in the 4th book of his Antiquities, more epecially the 41h, Gth, and 7th 
chapters). When the brother of St. Jerom was ordnined in Cyprus, the deacons 
forcibly stopped hi^ mouth, lest he should make a solemn protestation, which 
might invalidate the holy rites. 



* Compare Planck (vol. i. p. 348). This century, the third, first brought forth 
the monks, and the mojiks, or the spirit of monkery, the celibacy of the clergy. 
Planck likewise observes, that from the history of Eusebius alone, names of mar- 
ried bishops and presbyters may be adduced by dozens. — M. 

t This exemption was very much limited. The municipal offices were of two 
kinds ; the one attached to the individual in his character of inhabitant, the 
other in that of 7>ro/»?-/>^c>?\ Coustantine had exempted ecclesiastics from offices 
of the first description. (Cod. Theod. xvi. t. ii- leg. 1. 2. Eusebius, Hist. Eccles. 
1. X. c. vii.) They sought, also, to be exempted from those of the second (munera 
patrimoniorum). The rich, to obtain this privilege, obtained subordinate situa- 
tions among the clergy. Constantlne published in 320 an edict, by which he pro- 
hibited the more ojiul'cnt citizens (decuriones and curialcs) from cmbracinj the 
eccl(>siastical profession, and the bishops from admitting new ecclesi.-stics, before 
a place should be vacant by the death of an occupant i^Godefroy ad Cod. Theod. 
1. xii. t. i. de Decur.). Valontiniafi the First, by a rescript still more general, 
enacted that no rich citizen should obtain a situation in the church (De Epis<'. 1. 
Ixvii.). He also enacted that ecclesiastics, who wished to be exempt from offices 
•which Ihey were bound to discharge as proprietors, should be obliged to give up 
their property to their relations. Cod- Theodos. 1. xii. t. i. leg. 49.— G. 



OP THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 191 

private or public, all municipal offices, and all personal taxes, 
and contributions, which pressed on their fellow-citizens 
with intolerable weight ; and the duties of their hol}^ pro- 
fession were accepted as a full discharge of their obligations 
to the repub^c.^" Each bishop acquired an absolute and inde- 
feasible right to the perpetual obedience of the clerk whom 
he ordained : the clergy of each episcopal church, with its 
dependent parishes, formed a regular and permanent society; 
and the cathedrals of Constantinople ^^ and Carthage ^^ main- 
tained their peculiar establishment of five hundred ecclesias- 
tical ministers. Their ranks °^ and numbers were insensibly 
multiplied by the superstition of the times, which introduced 
into the church the splendid ceremonies of a Jewish or Pagan 
temple ; and a long train of priests, deacons, sub-deacons, 
acolythes, exorcists, readers, singers, and door-keepers, con- 
tributed, in their respective stations, to swell the ])omp and 
harmony of religious worship. The clerical name and 
privilege were extended to many pious fraternities, wbo 
devoutly supported the ecclesiastical throne.^°^ Six hundred 
paraholani^ or adventurers, visited the sick at Alexandria ; 
eleven hundred copiatce, or grave-diggers, buried the dead at 
Constantinople ; and the swarms of monks, who arose from 
the Nile, overspread and darkened the face of the Christian 
world. 

III. The edict of Milan secured the revenue as well as 
the peace of the church.^'^^ The Christians not only recov- 
ered the lands and houses of which they had been stripped 

^ The charter of immunities, which the clergy obtained from the Christian 
emperors, is contained in the ItJlh book of the Theodosian code ; and is illustrated 
with tolerable candor by the learned Godefroy, whose mind was balanced by the 
opposite prejudices of a civilian and a Protestant. 

'-" Justinian. Novell, ciii. Sixty presbyters, or priests, one hundred deacons, 
forty deaconesses, ninety sub-deacons, one hundred and ten readers, twenty-five 
cbanters, and one hundred door-keepers ; in all, five hundred and tweiity-five. 
This moderate number was fixed by the emperor to relieve the distress of the 
church, which had been involved in debt and usury by the expense of a much 
higher establishment. 

^^ Universus clerus ecclesiae Carthaginiensis * * * fere quivf/enfi vel amplius ; 
inter quos quamplurima erant lectores infantuli. Victor Yitensis, de Persecut. 
Vandal, v. 9, p. 78, edit. Ruinai-t. This remnant of a more prosperous state still 
subsisted under the oppression of the Vandals. 

*•' The number of seven orders has been fixed in the Latin church, exclusive of 
the episcopal character. But Ihe four inferior ranks, the minor orders, are now 
reduced to empty and useless titles. 

i^'See Cod. Theodos. 1. xvi. tit. ii. leg. 42, 43. Godefroy's Commentary, and 
the Ecclesiastical History of Alexandria, show the danger of these pious institu- 
tions, which ofien dir-turbed the i)eace of that turbulent capital. 

I'^Tlie edict of Milan (de M. P. c. 4^) acknowledges, by reciting, that there 
existed a species of landed property, ad jus corporis eorum, id est, ecclesiarum 
non hominum singulorum pertinentia. Such a solemn declaration of the 
supreme magistrate must have been received in all the tribunals as a maxun of 
civil law. 



192 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

by the persecuting laws of Diocletian, but they acquired a 
perfect title to all the possessions which they had hitherto 
enjoyed by the connivance of the magistrate. As soon as 
Christianity became the religion of the emperor and the 
empire, the national clergy might claim a decent and hon- 
orable maintenance : and the payment of an annual tax 
might have delivered the people from the more oppressive 
tribute which superstition imposes on her votaries. But as 
the wants and expenses of the church increased with her 
prosperity, the ecclesiastical order was still supported and en- 
riched by the voluntary oblations of the faithful. Eight 
years after the edict of Milan, Constantine granted to all 
his subjects the free and universal permission of bequeathing 
tneir fortunes to the holy Catholic church ;^^'^ and their de- 
vout liberality, which during their lives was checked by 
luxury or avarice, flowed with a profuse stream at the hour 
of their death. The wealthy Christians were encouraged by 
the example of their sovereign. An absolute monarch, who 
is rich without patrimony, may be charitable without merit ; 
and Constantine too easily believed that he should purchase 
the favor of heaven if he maintained the idle at the expense 
of the industrious ; and distributed among the saints the 
wealth of the republic. The same messenger who carried over 
to Africa the head of Maxentius might be intrusted with an 
epistle to Csecilian, bishop of Carthage. The emperor ac- 
quaints him, that the treasurers of the province are directed 
to pay into liis hands the sum of three thousand folles^ or 
eighteen thousand pounds sterling, and to obey his further 
requisitions for the relief of the churches of Africa, Xumidia 
and Mauritania.^*^^ The liberality of Constantine increased 
in a just proj^crtion to his faith, and to his vices. He assigned 
in each city a regular allowance of corn, to supply the fund 
of ecclesiastical charity ; and the persons of both sexes who 
embraced the monastic life became the peculiar favorites of 
their sovereign. The Christian, temples of Antioch, Alexan- 
dria, Jerusalem, Constantinople, <fec., displayed the ostenta- 
tious piety of a prince, ambitious in a declining age to equal 
the perfect labors of antiquity.^^^ The form of these religious 

1^*2 Habeat unusquisque licentiara sanctissimo Calholicre (ecclesice) venerabili- 
que concilio, decedens boiionim quod optavit velinqiiere. Cod. Theodos, 1. xvi. 
tit. ii. leg. 4. This law was published at Rome, A. D. 321, at a time when 
Coiistantiiie might foresee the probability of a rupture with the emperor of the 
East. 

^^'■^ Eiisebius, Hist. Eccles. 1. x. 6: in Vit. Constantin. 1. iv. c. 28. He repoated- 
ly expatiates on the liberality of the Christian hero, whirh the bishop himself 
had an opportunity of knowing, and even of tasting, 

^^ Eusebius, Hist. Eccles. l- x. c. 2, 3, 4. The bishop of Coesarea, who studied 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 193 

edifices was simple and oblong ; though they might some- 
times swell into the shape of a dome, and sometimes branch 
into the figure of a cross. The timbers were framed for the 
most part of cedars of Libanus ; the roof was covered with 
tiles, perhaps of gilt brass ; and the walls, the columns, the 
pavement, were encrusted with variegated marbles. The 
most precious ornaments of gold and silver, of silk and gems, 
were profusely dedicated to the service of the altar ; and 
this specious magnificence was supported on the solid and 
perpetual basis of landed property. In the space of two 
centuries, from the reign of Constantine to that of Justinian, 
the eighteen hundred churches of the empire were enriched 
by the frequent and unalienable gifts of the prince and 
people. An annual income of six hundred pounds sterling 
may be reasonably assigned to the bishops, who were placed 
at an equal distance between riches and poverty, ^*^^ but the 
standard of their wealth insensibly rose with the dignity 
and opulence of the cities which they governed. An authen 
tic but imperfect ^'^^ rent-roll specifies some houses, shops, 
gardens and farms, which belonged to the three JBasilicce of 
Home, St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. John Lateran, in the 
provinces of Italy, Africa and the East. They produce, 
besides a reserved rent of oil, linen, paper, aromatics, &c., 
a clear annual revenue of twenty-two thousand pieces of 
gold, or twelve thousand pounds sterling. In the age of 
Constantine and Justinian, the bishops no longer possessed, 
perhaps they no longer deserved the unsuspecting confidence 
of their clergy and people. The ecclesiastical revenues of 
each diocese were divided into four parts ; for the respec- 
tive uses of the bishoj) himself, of his inferior clergy, of the 
poor, and of the public worship; and the abuse of this 
sacred trust was strictly and repeatedly checked. ^^^ The 

and gratified the taste of his master, pronounced in public an elaborate descrip- 
tion of the church of Jerusalem (in Vit. Cons. 1. iv.c. 40). It no longer exists, but 
he has inserted in the life of Constantine (1. iii. c. 3C) a slaort account of tlie archi- 
tecture and ornaments. He likewise mentions the church of the Holy Apostles 
at Constantinople (1. iv. c. 59). 

i"5 See Justinian. Novell, cxxiii. '^. The revenue of the patriarchs, and the 
most wealthy bishops, is not expressed : the highest annual valuation of a 
bisiiopric is stated r.t thirty, and the lowest at /wo, pounds of gold ; the medium 
might be taken at sixteen,\)\it these valuations are much below the real value. 

1^ See Baronius (Annal. I^ccles. A. I). :}24, No. 58, C5, 70, 71). Every record 
which comes from tlie Vatican is justly suspected ; yet these rent-rolls have an 
ancient and authentic color ; and it is at least evident, that, if forged, they were 
forged ill a period when/.trm.s, n()t l:i7if/(Ioms, were the objects of papal avarice. 

''-^ See Thomassin. Discipline de I'Elglise, torn. iii. 1. ii. c. 13. 14, 15, pp. 689-706. 
The legal division of (he ecclesiastical revenue does not appear to have been es- 
tablisheil in the lime of Ambrose and Chrysostom, Simplicius and Gelasiu6,who 
■were bishops of Kome in the latter part of the fifth century, mention it in their 
pastoral letters as a general law, which was already confirmed by the custom of 
Italy. ^ 

Vol. II.— 13 



194 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

patrimony of the chnrcli was still subject to all the public 
impositions of the state. ^"^^ The clergy of Rome, Alexandria, 
Thessalonica, tfcc, might solicit and obtain some })artial 
exemptions ; but the premature attempt of the gi-eat council 
of Rimini, which aspired to universal freedom, was success- 
fully resisted by the son of Constantino. ^°^ 

IV. The Latin clergy, who erected their tribunal on the 
ruins of the civil and common law, have modestly accepted, 
as the gift of Constantine,^^^ the independent jurisdiction, 
which was the fruit of time, of accident, and of their own 
industry. But the liberality of the Christian emperors had 
actually endowed them with some legal prerogatives, wliich 
secured and dignified the sacerdotal character,^^^ 1. Ur.dcr 
a despotic government, the bishops alone enjoyed and asserted 
the inestimable privilege of being tried only by their jyeers ; 
and even in a capital accusation, a synod of their brethren 
were the sole judges of their guilt or innocence. Such a 
tribunal, unless it was inflamed by jjersonal resentment or 
religious discord, might be favorable, or even partial, to the 
sacerdotal order; but Constantino w.s satisfied ^^- that secret 
impunity would be less pernicious than public scandal ; and 
the Nicene council was edified by his public declaration, that 
if he surprised a bishop in the act of idultery, he should cast 

'08 Ambrose, the most strenuous assertor of eoclesiastioal privileges, submits 
without a murmur to the payment of the land tax. " Si tributum petit Impeia- 
tor, nou negamus ; ngri ecclesiai solvunt tributum ; soJvinnis quje sunt Cnesaris 
Ciesari. et quie sunt Dei Deo; tributum Ca?saris est: non negatur." Daron- 
ius labors to interpret this tribute as an act of charity rather than of duty 
(Annal. Eccles. A. D. 387); but the words, if not the intentions, of Ambrose ai'o 
more candidly explained by Thomassin, Discipline de I'Eglisc, torn. iii. 1. i. c. 34, 
p. 268. 

109 In Ariminense synodo super ecclesiarum et clericorum privilogiis tractatu. 
habito, usque eo dispositio progressa est. ut juga quai vid M-entur ad eoclesiam 
pertinere, a publica functione cessarent inquietudine d'^-; entc ; quod nostra 
videtur dudum sanctio repulsisse. Cod. Tlieod. 1. xvi. li'- ii. leg. 15. Had the 
synod of Rimiid curried this point, such pi-actical merit might have atoned for 
some speculative heresies. 

n > From Eusebius (in Vit. Constant. 1. iv. c. 27) and Sozomen (1. i. o. fi) wo are 
assured that the episcopal jurisdiction was extended and conlirmed by Constan- 
tine ; but the forge, y of a famous edict, which was never fairly inserted in the 
Theodosian Code (see at the end, torn. vi. p. 303), is demonstrated by God> froy in 
the most satisfactory manner, it is strange that M. de Montesquieu, who was a 
lawyer as well as a philo.'^opher, should allege this edict of Constantino (Esprit 
desLoix, 1. xxix. c. 16) without intimating any suspicion. 

m The subject of ecclesiastical jurisdiction has been involved in a mist of pas- 
sion, of prejudice, and of interest. Two of the fairest books which have fallen 
into my hands, are the Institutes of Canon Law, by the Abbe de Fleury, and the 
Civil History of Naples, by Giannone. Their moderation was the effect of .situa- 
tion as well as of temper. Fieury was a French ecclesiastic, who respected the 
authority of the parliaments ; Giannone was an Italian lawyer, who dreaded the 
power of the church. And here let me observe, that as the general propositions 
which I advance are the result of vmnn particular and imperfect facts, I must 
either refer the reader to those modern authors who have expressly treated the 
subject, or swell these notes to a disa^jreeable and disproportioned size. 

112 Til'leniont has collected from Rufinus, Theodoret, &o,, the seutiments and 
language of Constautine. M<5m. Eccles, torn. iii. pp. 74'J, 750. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. l95 

his Imperial mantle over the episcopal sinner. 2. The do- 
mestic jurisdiction of the bishops was at once a privilege 
and a restraint of the ecclesiastical order, whose civil causes 
were decently withdrawn from the cognizance of a secular 
judge. Their venial offences were not exposed to the shame 
of a public trial or punishment; and tlie gentle correction 
which the tenderness of youth may endure from its parents 
or instructors, was inflicted by the temperate severity of the 
bishops. But if the clergy were guilty of any crime which 
could not be sufficiently expiated by their degradation from 
an honorable and beneficial profession, the Roman magistrate 
drew the sword of justice, without any regard to ecclesiastical 
immunities. 3. The arbitration of tiie bishops was ratified 
by a positive law ; and the judges were ipstructed to execute, 
without appeal or delay, the episcopal decrees, whose validity 
had hitherto depended on the consent of the parties. The 
conversion of the magistrates themselves, and of tlie whole 
empire, might gradually remove the fears and scruples of 
the Ciiristians. But they still resorted to the tribunal of 
the bisho})S, whose abilities and integrity they esteemed ; and 
the venerable Austin enjoyed the satisfa'ction of complaining 
that liis spiritual functions wei-e perpetually interrupted by 
the invidious labor of deciding the claim or the possession of 
silver and gold, of lands and cattle. 4. The ancient privilege 
of sanctuary was transferred to the Christian temples, and 
extended by the liberal piety of tlie younger Theodosius, to 
the precincts of consecrated ground. ^^^ The fugitive, and 
even guilty, suppliants were permitted to implore either the 
justice, or the mercy, of the Deity and his ministers. The 
rash violence of despotism was suspended by the mild inter- 
position of the church ; and the lives or fortunes of the most 
eminent subjects might be protected by the mediation of the 
bishop. 

V. The bishop was the perpetual censor of the morals of 
liis people. The discipline of penance was digested into a 
system of canonical jurisprudence,"^ which accurately deiined 

ii-» See Cod. Theod. 1. ix. tit. xlv. leg. 4. In the works of Fra Paolo (torn. iv. 
p. Itt2, &c.), there is an excellent discourse on the origin, claims, abuses, and 
limits of sanctuaries. He justly observes, that ancient Greece might perhaps 
contaiu fifteen or twenty azi/la or sanctuaries ; a number which at present may 
be found in Italy within the walls of a single city. 

'11 The penitential jirispriidence was continually improved by the can<ms of 
the councils. But as many cases were still left to the discretion of the liishops, they 
occasionally published, after the example of the Roman Pra?tor. tlie rules of disci- 
pliie which they propf)Scd to observe. Among the canonical epistles of the fourth 
century, those of Basil the Great were the most celebrated. They are inserted 
in the Pandects of Beveridge (torn. ii. i)p. 47-151), and are translated by Chardon, 
Hist, des Sacremens, torn. iv. pp. 21'J-277. 



196 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the duty of private or public confession, the rules of evidence, 
the degrees ot guilt, and the measure of j)unishment. It was 
impossible to execute this spiritual censure, if the Christian 
pontiff, wlio punished tlie obscure sins of the multitude, re- 
spected tlie conspicuous vices and destructive crimes of the 
magistrate ; but it was impossible to arraign the conduct of 
the magistrate, Avithout controlling the administration of civil 
government. Some considerations of religion, or loyalty, or 
fear, protected the sacred persons of the emperors from the 
zeal or resentment of the bishops ; but they boldly censured 
and excommunicated the subordinate tyrants, who were not 
invested with the majesty of the purple. St. Athanasius 
excommunicated one of the ministers of Egypt ; and the 
interdict whicli he pronounced, of fire and water, was sol- 
emnly transmitted to the churches of Cappadocia.-^^^ Under 
the reign of the younger Theodosius, the polite and eloquent 
Synesius, one of the descendants of Hercules,"^ tilled the 
episcopal seat of Ptolemais, near the ruins of ancient Cyrene,^" 
and the philosophic bishop supported Avith dignity the char- 
acter which he had assumed Avith reluctance."** He van- 
quished the monster of Libya, the president Andronicus, 
who abused the authority of a venal office, invented new 
modes of rapine and torture, and aggravated the guilt of 
oppression by that of sacrilege.-'^^ After a fruitless attempt 

11^ Basil, Epistol. xlvii. in BMronius (Aiinal. Eccles. A. D. 370. No. 91), who de- 
clares tliat he purposely relates it, to convince governors that they were not 
exempt from a sentence of excommunication. In his opinion, even a royal head 
is not safe from the thunders of the Vatican ; and the cardinal shows himself 
much more consistent than the lawyers and theologians r.f the Galilean church. 

ii" The long series of his ancestors, as high asEurysthenes, the lirst Doric king 
of Sparta, and the lifth in lineal desceiit from Hercules, was inscribed in the 
public registers of Cyrene, a Lacedsemouian colony. (Synes. Epist. Ivii. p. 197, 
edit. Petav.) Such a piiie and illustrious pedigree of seventeen hundred years, 
without adding the royal ancestors of Hercules, cannot be equalled in the history 
of mankind. 

"^ S>nesiu8 (de Regno, p. 2) pathetically deplores the fallen and ruined state 

of Cyrene, ttoAi? 'EAAr;»'is~, naAaibu oi'O/u.a /cal affJ.fbi', Kai ey uj6 '/ fxi'pia ruii' naXai 

cr64>oii', I'ui' TTep-jj? koI »caTrj</>i)?, (cai fj.eya epetniof. Ptolemais, a new city, 82 miles to 
the westward of Cyrene, assumed the metropolitan honors of the Pentapolis, or 
upper Libya, which were afterwards transferred to Sozusa. See Wesscling. Uiii- 
erar. pp. 07, 08, 732. Celarius, Geograph. tom ii. p. ii. 72, 74. Carolus a Sto I'aulo, 
Geograph. Sacra, p. 273. D'Anville, Geographie Ancienne, tom. iii. pp. 43, 44. 
Memories de I'Acad. des Inscriptions, tom. xxxvii. pp. 303-391. 

"8 Synesius had previously represented his own disqualitications (Epist. c. v. 
pp. 246-250). He loved profane studies and profane sports ; he was incarable of 
supporting a life of celibacy ; he disbelieved the resurrection ; and he refused to 
preach fab fes to the people, unlesshemight be permitted to ^j/^/Zo.sYyj/i/ce at liome. 
Theophilus, primate of Egypt, who knew his merit, accepted this extraordinary 
compromise. See the life of Svnesius in Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. xii. pp. 
499-554. 

"i^ See the invective of Synesius, Epist. Ivii. pp. 101-201. The promotion of 
Andronicus was illegal ; since he wns a native of Berenice in the same province. 
The instruments of torture are curiously specified ; the kiktttjpioi', or press, the 
SaKTv\ri,<^oa, the 7ro6o<rTpa/3rj, the ptvoAajSt^", the u)Ta\pa, and the X'eiAoTpo<f>ioi', that 

variously pressed or distended the lingers, the feet, the nose, the ears, and the lips 
of the victims. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE 197 

to reclaim the haughty magistrate by mild and religious ad- 
monition, Synesius proceeds to inflict the last sentence of 
ecclesiastical justice/^^ which devotes Andronicus, with his 
associates and thQiv families^ to the abhorrence of earth and 
heaven. The impenitent sinners, more cruel than Phalaris or 
Sennacherib, more destrnctive than war, pestilence, or a 
cloud of locusts, are deprived of the name and privileges of 
Cliristians, of the participation of the sacraments, and of the 
hope of Paradise. The bishop exhorts the clergy, the magis- 
trates, and the people, to renounce all society with the ene- 
mies of Christ ; to exclude them from their houses and 
tables ; and to refuse them the common offices of life, and 
the decent rites of burial. The church of Ptolemais, obscure 
and contemj)tible as she may appear, addresses this decLara- 
tion to all lier sister churches of the workl; and the profane 
who reject lier decrees, will be involved in the guilt and 
punishment of Andronicus and his impious followers. These 
si:)iritual terrors were enforced by a dexterous application to 
the Byzantine court ; the trembling president imj^lored the 
mercy of the church ; and the descendant of Hercules en- 
joyed tlie satisfaction of raising a prostrate tyrant from the 
ground. ^-^ Such principles and such examples insensibly 
prepared the triumph of the Roman pontiffs, who have 
trampled on the necks of kings. 

VI. Every popular government has experienced the effects 
of rude or artificial eloquence. The coldest nature is ani- 
mated, the firmest reason is moved, by the rapid communi- 
cation of the prevailing impulse ; and each hearer is affected 
by his own passions, and by those of the surrounding mul- 
titude. The ruin of civil liberty had silenced the demagogues 
of Athens, and the tribunes of Rome ; the custom of preach- 
ing, whicli seems to constitute a considerable part of Chris- 
tian devotion, had not been introduced into the temples of 
antiquity; and the ears of monarchs were never invaded by 
the liarsh sound of popular eloquence, till the pulpits of the 
em|)ire were filled with sacred orators, Avho possessed some 
advantages unknown to their profane j^redecessors.^-^^ The 

'-" Tlie seiitenoe of excominunication is expressed in a rhetorical style. 
(Synesius, hilsL. Iviii. pp. 2(»l-2()o.) The method of involving whole families, 
though tomevvhnt unjust, was improvetl into national interdicts. 

^-1 See Synesius, Epist. xlvii. pp. 18G, 187. Epist. Ixxii. pp. 218, 219. Epist. 
Ixxxix. pp. 230, 2.31. 

12'-! SeeTliomassin (Discipline de rEglise,tom. ii. 1. iii. o. 8.3, pp. 17G1-1770), and 
Bingham (Antiquities, vol. i. 1. xiv. e. 4, pp. (;88-717)- Preaching was considered 
as the most important office ofthehishop ; ])ut this function was sometimes in- 
trusted to such presbyters as CLrysostom and Augustin. 



198 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

arguments nnd rlietoric of the tribune were instantly opposed, 
with equal arms, by skilful and resolute antagonists ; and 
the cause of truth and reason, miglit derive an accidental 
suppwt from the conflict of hostile passions. The bishop, 
or some distinguished presbyter, to wliom he cautiously del- 
egated the powers of preaching, harangued, without the 
danger of interruption or reply, a submissive multitude, 
wliose minds had been prepared and subdued by the awful 
cei'emonies of religion. Such w^as the strict subordination 
of the Catholic church, that the same concerted sounds 
might issue at once from a hundred pulpits of Italy or 
Egypt, if they were tuned^^^ by the master hand of the 
Roman or Alexandrian primate. The design of this institu- 
tion was laudable, but the fruits were not always salutary. 
The preachers recommended the ])ractice of the social duties : 
but th 'y exalted the perfection of monastic virtue, which is 
paiuiul to the individual, and useless to mankind. Their 
charitable exhortations betrayed a secret wish, that the 
clergy might be permitted to manage the wealth of the 
faitliful, for the benefit of the poor. The most sublime rep- 
resentations of the attributes and lav/s of the Deity were 
sullied by an idle mixture of metaphysical subtleties, puerile 
rites, and fictitious miracles; and they expatiated, with the 
most fervent zeal, on the religious merit of hating the adver- 
saries, and obeying the ministers of the church. When the 
j)ul)lic peace was distracted by heresy and schism, the sacred 
orators sounded the trumpet of discord, and, perhaps, of sedi- 
tion.. The understandings of their congregations were per- 
plexed by m^'stery, their passions were inflamed by invectives ; 
and they rushed from the Christian temples of Antioch or 
Alexandria, prepared either to suffer or to inflict martyrdom. 
The corruption of taste and language is strongly marked in 
the vehement declamations of the Latin bishops ; but the 
coni])ositions of Gregory and Chrysostom have been com- 
pared with the most splendid models of Attic, or at least of 
Asiatic, eloquence. ^'^^ 

YII. The representatives of the Christian republic were 
regularly assembled in the spring and autumn of each year, 
and these synods diffused tlie spirit of ecclesiastical disci- 

»-3 Queen Elizabeth used this expression, and practiced this art, whenever she 
wished to prepossess the minds of lier people in favor of any extraordinary meas- 
ure of government. The hostile effects of this music were apprehended by her 
successor, and severely felt by his son. "When pulpit, drum ecclesiastic," &c. 
See Heylin's Life of Archbishop Laud, p. 153. 

1-^ Those modest orators acknowledged, tbat, as they were destitute of the gift 
of miracles, they endeavored to acquire the arts of eloquence. 



OF THE ROiLAN EMPIRE. 199 

pline and legislation through the hundred and twenty prov- 
inces of the Roman world. ^-^ The archbishop or metro- 
politan was empowered, by the laws, to summon the suf- 
fragan bishops of his province ; to revise their conduct, to 
vindicate their riglits, to declare their faith, and to examine 
the merit of the candidates who were elected by the clergy 
and people to supply the vacancies of the episcopal college. 
The primates of Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, Carthage, and 
afterwards Constantinople, who exercised a more ample 
jurisdiction, convened the numerous assembly of their de- 
2)endent bishops. But the convocation of great and extra- 
ordinary synods was the prerogative of the emj)eror alone. 
Whenever the emergencies of the church required this 
decisive measure, he despatched a peremptory summons to 
the bishops, or the deputies of eai*h province, with an order 
for the use of post-horses, and a competent allowance for 
the expenses of their journey. At an early j^eriod, when 
Constantine was the protector, rather than the proselyte, of 
Christianity, he referred the African controversy to the 
council of Ai'les ; in which the bishops of York, of Treves, 
of Milan, and of Carthage, met as friends and brethren, to 
debate in their native tongue on the common interest of the 
Latin or Western church. ^^^ Eleven years afterwards, a 
more numerous and celebrated assembly was convened al 
Nice in Bithynia, to extinguish, by their final sentence, the 
subtle disputes which had arisen in Egypt on the subject of 
the Trinity. Three hundred and eighteen bishops obeyed 
the summons of their indulgent master; the ecclesiastics of 
every rank, and sect, and denomination, have been com- 
puted at two thousand and forty-eight persons ; ^'"^ the 
Greeks appeared in person ; and the consent of the Latins 
was expressed by the legates of the Roman pontiff. The 
session, which lasted about two months, was frequently 
honored by the presence of the emperor. Leaving his 
guards at the door, he seated himself (with the permission 

^-^' The council of Nice, in Uie fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh canons, has 
made some fundamental regulations concerning synods, metropolitans, and 
primates. The Nicene canons have been variously tortured, abused, interpo]at(!d, 
or forged, according to the interest of the clergy. The ,Snburbicarian churches, 
assigned (by Kuliuus) to the bishop of Rome, have been made the subject of 
vehement controversy. (See Sirmond, Opera, torn. iv. pp. 1-2.38.) 

i-2u \ye have only thirty-three or forty-seven episcopal subscriptions : but Ado, 
a writer indeed of small account, reckons six hundred bishops in the council of 
Aries. Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. vi. p. 422. 

*2? See Tillemont, torn. vi. p. 91.5, and iJeausobre, Hist, du Manicheisme, tom, 
i. p. 529. The name of luHhopy which is given by Eiitychius to the 2048 ecclesias- 
tics (Annal. tom. i. p. 440, vers. Pocock), must be extended far beyond the limits 
of au orthodox or even ej»ist'opaI ordination. 



200 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of the council) on a low stool in the midst of the hall. 
Constantine listened with patience, and spoke with modesty ; 
and while he influenced the debates, he humbly professed 
that he was the minister, not the judge, of the successors of 
the apostles, who had been established as priests and as 
gods upon earth.^-* Such profound reverence of an abso- 
lute monarch towards a feeble and unarmed assembly of his 
own subjects, can only be compared to the respect with 
which the senate had been treated by the Roman princes 
who adopted the policy of Augustus. Within the space of 
fifty years, a philosophic spectator of the vicissitudes of 
human affairs might have contemplated Tacitus in the senate 
of Rome, and Constantine in the council of Nice. The 
fathers of the Capital and those of the church had alike 
degenerated from the virtues of their founders ; but as the 
bishops were more deeply rooted in the public opinion, they 
sustained their dignity with more decent jjride, and some- 
times opposed with a manly spirit the Avishes of their 
sovereign. The progress of time and superstition erased, 
the memory of the weakness, the passion, the ignorance, 
which disgraced these ecclesiastical synods ; and the Catholic 
world has unanimously submitted ^-^ to the infallible decrees 
of the general councils.^^ 

J2S SeeEuseb. in Vit. Constantin. 1. iii. c. 6-21. Tillemont, M6m. Ecclesias- 
tiques, torn. vi. pp. 669-759. 

i2<-» Sanciinus igitur Ticem legum obtiiiere, qufe a quatuor Sanctis Conciliis 
.... expositae sunt aut firmatae.^ Pnedictarum enim quatuor synodorum dog- 
mata sicut sanctas Scripturas et regulas sicut leges observamus. Justinian. 
Novell, cxxxi. B'everidge (ad Pandect, proleg. p. 2) remarks, that the emperor 
never made new laws in ecclesiastical matters ; and Giannone observes, in a very 
different spirit, that they gave a legal sanction to the canons of councils. Is- 
toria Civile di Napoli, torn i. p. 136. 

130 See the article CoNCiL^iti the Encyclopedie, torn. iii. pp. 668-679, edition de 
Lucques. The author, M. le docteur Bouchaud, has discussed. accord5»ig to the 
principles of the Ga!lican church, the principal questions which relate to the 
form and constitution of general, national, and provincial councils. The editors 
(see Preface, p. xvi.) have reason to be proud of ihis article. Those who consult 
tlieii immense compilation, seldom depart so well satisfied. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 201 



CHAPTER XXI. 

PERSECUTION OF HERESY. THE SCHISM OF THE DONATISTS. 

THE ARIAN CONTROVERSY. ATHANASIUS. DISTRACTED 

STATE OF THE CHURCH AND EMPIRE UNDER CONSTANTINE 
AND HIS SONS. TOLERATION OF PAGANISM. 

The grateful applause of the clergy has consecrated the 
memory of a prince wlio indulged their passions and pro- 
moted their interest. Constantine gave them security, 
wealth, honors, and revenge ; and the su])port of the ortho- 
dox faith was considered as the most sacred and important 
duty of the civil magistrate. The edict of Milan, the great 
charter of toleration, liad confirmed to each individual of 
the Roman world the privilege of choosing and jirofessing 
his ovvn religion. But this inestimable privilege was soon 
violated ; Avith the knowledge of truth, the emperor imbibed 
the maxims of persecution; and the sects which dissented 
from the Catholic churcli were afflicted and oppressed by 
the triumph of Christianity. Constantine easily believed 
that the Pleretics, who presumed to dispute Jds opinions, or 
to oppose his commands, were guilty of the most absurd 
and criminal obstinacy ; and that a seasonable application 
of moderate severities miglit save those unhappy men from 
the dangler of an everlasting: condemnation. Not a moment 
was lost in excluding the ministers and teachers of the 
separated congregations from any share of the rewards and 
immunities which the emperor had so liberally bestowed on 
the orthodox clergy. But as the sectaries might still exist 
\mder the cloud of royal disgrace, the conquest of the East 
was immediately followed by an edict which announced 
their total destruction.^ After a preamble filled witli pas- 
sion and reproach, Constantine absolutely prohibits the 
assemblies of the Heretics, and confiscates their public ]n'op- 
erty to the use either of the revenue or of the Catholic 
church. The sects against whom the Imperial severity was 
directed, appear to have been the adherents of Paul of 
Samosata ; the Montanists of Phrygia, who maintained an 
enthusiastic succession of prophecy ; the Novatians, who 

^ Eusebius in Vit. Constantin. 1. iii. c. 63, 64, 65, 66. 



202 THE DECLIXE AND FALL 

sternly rejected the temporal efficacy of repentance ; the 
jMarcionites and Valentinians, under whose Icadinu^ banners 
tlie various Gnostics of Asia and Eo^ypt liad insensibly 
rallied ; and perhaps the Manichoeans, wlio had recently im- 
ported from l?*ersia a more artful compositiou of Oriental 
and Christian theology.^ The design of extirpating the 
name, or at least of restraining the progre*ss, of these odious 
Heretics, was prosecuted with vigor and effect. Some of 
the ])enal regulations were copied from the edicts of 
Diocletian ; and this method of conversion was applauded 
by the snme bishops who had felt the hand of oi)pression, 
and had pleaded for the rights of humanity. Two immaterial 
circumstances may serve, however, to prove that the mind 
of Constantine was not entirely corrupted by the spirit of 
zeal and bigotry. Before he condemned the Manichreans 
and their kindred sects, he resolved to make an accurate 
inquiry into the nature of their religious principles. As if 
he distrusted the impartiality of his ecclesiastical counsel- 
lors, this delicate commission was intrusted to a civil magis- 
trate, whose learning and moderation he justly esteemed, 
and of Avhose venal chai-acter he was probably ignorant.^ 
The emperor was soon convinced, that he had too hastily 
proscribed the orthodox faith and the exemj^lary morals of 
the Novatians, who had dissented from the church in some 
articles of discipline which were not ])erliaps essential to 
salvation. By a ])articular edict, he exempted them from 
the general ])enalties of the law;* allowed them to build a 
church at Constantinople, respected the miracles of their 
saints, invited their bishop Acesius to the council of Nice ; 
and gently ridiculed the narrow tenets of his sect by a 
familiar jest, wiiich, from the mouth of a sovereign, must 
have been received with applause and gratitude.^ 

2 After some examination of the various opinions of Tillemon t, Beausobre, Lard, 
ner .&c.,I am convinced that Manes did not propagate his sect, even in Persia, before 
the j-ear 270. It is strani^^e, tliat a pliilosopliic and foreign heresy should liave 
penetrated so rapidly into tlie African provinces ; yet I cainiot easily reject the 
edict of Diocletian against the Manichyeans, which may be found in Buronius, 
(Annal. Eccl. A. D. 2S7.) 

3 Coiistantinus eni'n,cumlimatiussuperstitionumquoereret sectas, "Jranichfeor- 
um et similium, &c. Ammian. xv, 15. Strategius, who from this commission ob- 
tained the surname of Afiisonianus, was a Christian of tlie Arian sect, lie acted 
as one of the counts at the council of Sardica. Libanius praises his mildness and 
prudence. Vales, ad locum Ammian. , 

* Cod. Theod. 1. xvi. tit. .% leg. 2. As the general law is not inserted in the 
Theodosiau Code, it is probable that, in the year 438, the sects which it had con- 
demned were already extinct. 

'' Sozomen, 1. i. c, 22. Socrates,!, i. c. 10. These historians have been sus- 
pected, but I think without reason, of an attachment to the NovatiaJi doctrine. 
Tlie emperor sai<l to the bishop, " Acesius, take a ladder, and grt up to heaven 
by yourself." Most of the Christian sects have, by turns, borrowed the ladder 
of Acetiius. 



OF THE ROMAK EMPIRE. 203 

The complaints and mutual accusations which assailed 
the throne of Constantine, as soon as the death of Maxen- 
tius had submitted Africa to his victorious arms, were ill 
adapted to edify an imperfect proselyte. He learned, with 
surprise, that the provinces of that great country, from the 
confines of Cyrene to the columns of Hercnles, were dis- 
tracted with religious discord.® The source of the division 
was derived from a double election in the church of Car- 
thage ; the second, in rank and opulence, of the ecclesias- 
tical thrones of the West. Caecilian and Majorinus were 
the two rival primates of Africa; and the death of the latter 
soon made room for Donatus, who, by his superior abilities 
and apparent virtues, was the firmest support of his ])arty. 
The advantage which Csecilian might claim from the priority 
of his ordination, was destroyed by the illegal, or at least 
indecent, haste, with which it had been performed, without 
expecting the arrival of the bishops of Numidia. The 
authority of these bishops, who, to the number of seventy, 
condemned Caecilian, and consecrated Majorinus, is again 
weakened by the infamy of some of their personal charac- 
ters ; and by the female intrigues, sacrilegious bargains, and 
tumultuous ])i-oceedings, which are imputed to this Numi- 
dian council.^ The bishops of the contending factions main- 
tained, with equal ardor and obstinacy, that their adver- 
saries were degraded, or at least dishonored, by the odious 
crime of delivering the Holy Scriptures to the officers of 
Diocletian. From their mutual reproaches, as well as from 
the story of this dark transaction, it may justly be inferred, 
that the late persecution had imbittered the zeal, without 
reforming the manners, of the African Christians. That 
divided church was incapable of affording an impartial judi- 
cature; the controversy was solemnly tried in five successive 
tribunals, which were appointed by the emperor ; and the 



6 The best materials for tliis part of ecclesiastical history may be foinid in the 
edition of Optatus Milevitanus, published (Paris. 1700) by M. Dupiii, who ha.^ en- 
riched it with critical notfS, geographical iliscussiojis, original records, and an 
accurate abridgment of the whole controversy. M. de Tillemont has bestowed 
on the Don;itists the greatest part of a volume (tom. vi. part i.) ; and 1 am indebt- 
ed to him for an ample collection of all the passages of his favorite St. Augnstin, 
which relate to those heretics. 

^ Schisma igitur illo tempore confusna mulieris iracundia peperit ; ambitus 
iiutrivit ; avaritia roboravit. Optatus. 1. i. c. 19. The language of Purpurius is 
that of a furious madman. Dicitur te necasse liliossororis tua3 duos. Purpurius 
respondit : Putas me terreri ii te * * * occidi ; et occido eos qui contra me faciunt. 
Acta Concil. Cirtensis, and calc. Optat. p. 274. When Caecilian was invited to an 
assembly of bishops, Purpurius said to his brethren, or rather to his accomplices, 
'• Let him come hither lo receive our imposition of hands, and we will break his 
head by way of penance." Optat. 1, i. c 19. 



204 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

whole proceeding, from the first appeal to the final sentence, 
lasted above three years. A severe inquisition, which was 
taken by the Prastorian vicar, and the proconsul of Africa, 
the report of two episcopal visitors who had been sent to 
Carthage, the decrees of the councils of Rome and of Aries, 
and the supreme judgment of Constantine himself in his 
sacred consistory, were all favorable to the cause of Caecil- 
ian ; and he was unanimously acknowledged by the civil 
and ecclesiastical powers, as the true and lawful primate of 
Africa. The honors and estates of the church were attrib- 
uted to his suffragan bishops, and it was not without diffi- 
culty, that Constantine was satisfied with inflicting the 
punishment of exile on the principal leaders of the Donatist 
faction. As their cause was examined with attention, per- 
haps it was determined with justice. Perhaps their com- 
plaint was not without foundation, that the credulity of the 
emperor had been abused by the insidious arts of his favorite 
Osius. The influence of falsehood and corruption might 
procure the condemnation of the innocent, or aggravate the 
sentence of the guilty. Such an act, however, of injustice, 
if it concluded an importunate dispute, might be numbered 
among the transient evils of a despotic administration, which 
are neither felt nor remembered by posterity. 

But this incident, so inconsiderable that it scarcely de- 
serves a place in history, was productive of a memorable 
schism, which afflicted the provinces of Africa above three 
hundred years, and was extinguished only with Christianity 
itself. The inflexible zeal of freedom and fanaticism ani- 
mated the Donatists to refuse obedience to the usurpers, 
whose election they disputed, and whose spiritual powers 
they denied. Excluded from the civil and religious com- 
munion of mankind, they boldly excommunicated the rest 
of mankind, who had embraced the impious party of 
Caecilian, and of the Traditors, from whom he derived his 
pretended ordination. They asserted with confidence, and 
almost with exultation, that the Apostolical succession was 
interrupted ; that all the bishops of Europe and Asia were 
infected by the contagion of guilt and schism; and that 
the prerogatives of the Catholic church were confined to 
the chosen portion of the African believers, who alone 
had preserved inviolate the integrity of their faith and dis- 
cipline. This rigid theory was supported by the most un- 
charitable conduct. Whenever they acquired a proselyte, 
even from the distant provinces of the East, they carefully 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 205 

repeated the sacred rites of baptism ^ and ordination ; as 
they rejected the validity of those which he had ah*eady 
received from the hands of heretics or scliismatics. Bishops, 
virgins, and even spotless infants, were subjected to the dis- 
grace of a public pcjiance, before they could be admitted to 
the communion of the Donatists. If they obtained posses- 
sion of a church which had been used by tlieir Catholic ad- 
versaries, they purified the unhallowed building with the 
same jealous care which a temple of idols might have 
required. They washed the pavement, scraped the walls, 
burned the altar, which was commonly of wood, melted the 
consecrated plate, and cast the Holy Eucharist to the dogs, 
with every circumstance of ignominy which could provoke 
and perpetuate the animosity of religious factions.^ Not- 
withstanding this irreconcilable aversion, the two parlies, 
who were mixed and separated in all the cities of Africa, 
had the same language and manners, the same zeal and 
learning, the same faith and worship. Proscribed by the 
civil and ecclesiastical powers of the empire, the Donatists 
still maintained in some provinces, particularly in Numidia, 
their superior numbers ; and four hundred bishops acknowl- 
edged the jurisdiction t>f their primate. But the invincible 
spirit of the sect sometimes preyed on its own vitals ; and 
the bosom of their schismatical church was torn by intestine 
divisions. A fourth part of the Donatist bishops followed 
the independent standard of the Maximianists. The narrow 
and solitary path which their first leaders had marked out 
continued to deviate from the great society of mankind. 
Even the imperceptible sect of the Rogatians could affirm, 
without a blush, that when Christ should descend to 
judge the earth, he would find his true religion preserved 
only in a few nameless villages of the Caesarean Mauritania.^^ 
The schism of the Donatists was confined to Africa : the 
more diffusive mischief of the Trinitarian controversy suc- 
cessively penetrated into every part of the Christian world. 
The former was an accidental quarrel, occasioned by the 
abuse of freedom ; the latter was a high and mysterious 

8 The counriis of Aries, of Nice, and of Trent, oonfimtied the wise and moder- 
ate piactice of the church ot Kome. The Donatists. however, had the advantage 
of maintaining the sentiment of Cyprian, and of a considerable part of the 
priinilive church. Vincentius Lirincsis (j). u32, ap. Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn, 
vi. p. 1.38) lias explained why the Donatists are eternally burning witli the Devil, 
•while .St. CypriaTi reigns in heaven with Jesus Chiist. 

'•* See the sixth book of Optatus Mil^vitanus, pp. 91-100. 

"> 'Jlllemoiit, Mom. Kcclesiastiques, torn. vi. [)art i. p. 253. He laughs at their 
partial (credulity. He revered Augnstiu, the great doctor of the system of pre- 
destination. 



206 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

argument, doi-ivod from the abuse of jiliilosopliy. From the 
age of Constaiitiiic to that of Clovis and Theodoric, the 
temporal iiitorests hotli of the Romans and Barbarians were 
deeply involved in the theologieal disputes of Arianism. 
The liistorian may therefore be permitted respectfully to 
withdraw the veil of tlie sanctuaiy ; and to deduce the pro- 
gress of reason and faith, of error and passion, from the 
school of Plato, to the decline and fall of the empire. 

The genius of Plato, informed by his own meditation, or 
by the traditional knowledge of the priests of Egypt, ^^ had 
ventured to explore the mysterious nature of the Deity. 
When he had elevated his mind to the sublime contempla- 
tion of the first self-existent, necessary cause of the universe, 
the Athenian sage was incaj^able of conceiving Jioio the sim- 
ple unity of his essence could admit the infinite variety of 
distinct and successive ideas which compose the model of 
the intellectual world; hoy:; a Being purely incorporeal 
could execute that perfect model, and mould with a plastic 
hand the rude and independent chaos. The vain hope of 
extricating himself from these difficulties, which must ever 
oppress the feeble powers of the human mind, might induce 
Plato to consider the divine nature unrler the threefold 
modification — of the first cause, the reason, or Logos^ and 
the soul or spirit of the universe. His poetical imagination 
sometimes fixed and animated these metaphysical abstrac- 
tions ; the three arcJdcal or original principles were rejn-e- 
sented in the Platonic system as three Gods, united with 
each other by a mysterious and ineffable generation ; and 
the Logos was particularly considered under the more ac- 
cessible character of the Son of an Eternal Father, and 
the Creator and Governor of the world. Such apyjear to 
have been the secret doctrines which were cautiously whis- 
])ered in the gardens of the academy; and which, accord- 
ing to the more recent disciples of Plato,* could not be per- 
il Plato jEgyptum peragravit ut a sacerdotibus Barbaris lunnevos et roclcsfia 
acciperet. Cicero de Fiiiibus, v. 25. The Egyptians iniglit .still preserve the tra- 
ditiouai creed of the Patriarchs- Josephus lias persuaded many of the Christian 
fathers, that Plato derived a part of his knowledge from the Jews , but this vain 
opinion cannot be reconciled with the obscure state a)id inisocial manners of the 
Jewish people, whose scriptures were not accessible to Greek curiosity till more 
than one hundred years after the death of Plato. See Marshani, Canon. Chrou. 
p. 144. Le Clerc, Epistol. Critic, vii. pp. 177-194. 



* This exposition of the doctrine of Plato appears to me contrary to the true 
sense of that philosopher's writings. The brilli-int imagination which he carried 
into metaphysical iniiuiries, his style, full of allegories and ligures, have misled 
those interpreters who did not seek, from the whole tenor of his works and be- 
yond 1 he images which the writer employs, the system of this philo-^opher. In 
my opinion, there is no Trinity in Plato ; he has established no mysterious gener- 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 207 

fectly understood till after an assiduous study of thirty 
, years.^^ 

The arms of the Macedonians diffused over Asia and 
Egypt the lanQ;uage and learning of Greece and the theolog- 
ical system of Plato was taught, witli less reserve, and per- 

1^ The modem guides who lead me to the knowledge of the Platonic system are 
Cudworth (Intellectual System, pp. 5(;8-()2(»), Dasnagc (Hist, des Juifs, 1. iv. c. 4, 
pp. 53-SG), Le Clcrc (Epist. Crit. vii. pp. 191-209), and Brucker (Hist. Philosoph. 
torn. i. pp. 675-TOG.) As the learning of these writers was equal, and their inten- 
tion different, an inquisitive observer may derive instruction from their disputes 
and certainty from their agreement. 

ation between the three pretended principles which he is made to distinguish. 
Finally, he conceived only as atirlbtUcs of the Deity, or of matter, those ideas, of 
"which it is supposed that he made suhstanccR, real beings. 

According to Plato, God and matter existed from all eternity. Before the 
creation of the world, matter had in itself a principle of motion, but without end 
or laws : it is this principle which Plato calls the irrational soul of the world 
(aAoyo? ^vx'h) i because, according to his doctrine, every spontaneous and original 
principle of motion is called soul. God wished to impress/orm upon matter, that 
is to say, 1. To mould matter, and make it into a body ; 2. To regulate its motion, 
and subject it to some end and to certain laws. The Deity, in this operation, couhl 
not act but according to tlie ideas existing in his intelligence : their union filled 
this, and formed the ideal type of the world. It is this ideal world, this divine 
intelligence, existing with God from all eternity, and called by Plato vov; or A67CC, 
which he is supposed to personify, to substantialize ; while an attentive examina- 
tion is sufiicient to convince us that he has never assigne<l it an existence external 
to the Deily (hors de la Divinite), and that he con^ideredthe Adyo^as theagrjregate 
of the ideas of God, the divine understanding in its relation to the world. The 
contrary opii'.ion is irreconcilable wi*h all his pliilosophy : thus he says (Timfcue, 
p. .348, edit. Bip.) that to the idea of the Deity is essentially united that of an in- 
telligence, of a logos. He would thus have admitted a double logox ; one inherent 
in tiie Deity as an attribute, the other independently existingas a substance. He 
affirms (Timteus, 310,337, 348, Sophista, v. ii. pp. 205, 2CG) that tlie intelligence, the 
principle of order, rovs or Ao-yo?, cannot cxi;jt but as an attribute of a soul (j/vxri), 
the principle of motion and of life, of Avhich the nature is unknown to us. How, 
then, according to this, could he consider the logos as a sub.'^tance endowed with 
an independent existence? In other places he explains it by these two words, 
c;riTTT7/jL7) (knowledge, science), and Sidvoia (intelligence), which si;^nify the attri- 
butes of the Deity. (Sophist, v. ii. p. 299). Lastly, it follows from several pas- 
sage ;, .among others from Phileb. v. iv. pp. 247, 2. '8, that Plato has never given to 
the words vov;, X6yo<;, but one of these tvv^o :neanings : 1. The result of the action 
of the Deity ; that is, order, the collective laws which govern the world: and 2. 
The rational soul of the world (Aovio-rucrj i/zOxi), or the cause of this result, tb.at is 
to say, the divine intelligence. When he separates God, the ideal archetype of 
the world and matter, it is to explain how, according to his system, God has pro- 
ceeded, at the creation, to unite the principle of order, which he had v.iLhin him- 
gelf, his proper intelligence, the Ad-yo?, the principle of motion, to the principle (>f 
mo ion, the irrational soul, th;' a\oyo<; ^Jjjxti, which was in matter. When he, speaks 
of the place occupied by the ideal world (totto? i^otjto?). it is to designate the (livine 
i'.itdligeuce, which is its cause. Finally, in no part of his writings do we find a 
true personi.lration of the pretended beings of which he is said to have formed a 
trinity : and if this personiiication existed, it would equally apply to many other 
notions, of which might be formed many different trinities. 

This error into which many ancient as well as modern interpreters of Plato have 
fallen, was very natural. Besides the snares which were concealed in his figur- 
ative style ; besides the necessity of comprehending as a whole the system of his 
ideas, and not to explain isolated passages, the nature of his doctrine itself would 
conduce to this error. When Plato appeared, the uncertainty of human knowl- 
edge, and the continual illusions of the senses were acknowledged, and had given 
rise to a general skepticism. Socrates had aimed at raising morality above the 
influence of this skepticism : Plato endeavored to save nietaphy; ict^, by seeking in 
the human intellect a source of certainly \v']ii(h the senses could not furnish. He 
invented the system of innate ideas, of which the aggregate formed, according to 
him, the ideal world, and affirmed that these ideas were real attributes, not only 
attached to our conceptions of objects, but to the nature of the objects them- 
eelves ; a nature of which from them we might obtain a knowledge. He gave, 



208 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

haps with some improvements, in the celebrated school of 
Alexandria. ^^ A numerous colony of Jews liad been invited, 
by the favor of the Ptolemies, to settle in their new capital.^^ 
While the bulk of the nation practiced the legal ceremonies, 
and pursued the lucrative occupations of commerce, a few 
Hebrews, of a more liberal spirit, devoted their lives to re- 
ligious and philosophical contemplation.-'^ They cultivated 

'^ Bruckcr, Hist. Philosopli. torn. i. pp. 1349-in57. The Alexandrian school is 
celebrated by Strabo (1. xvii.) and Ammianus (xxii. 6).* 

" Joseph. Antiquitat. 1. xii. c. 1, 3. Basiiage,Hist. des Juifs, 1. vii. c. 7. 

^•'> For the origin of the Jewish philosophy, tiee Eusebius, I*ra:'parat. Evangel, 
viii. 9, 10. Acoordin^ to Philo, the Therapeuta^5>tudied philosophy ; and Bruckcr 
has proved (Plist. Philosoph. torn. ii. p. 787) that they gave the preference to that 
of Plato. 



then, to these ideas a positivo existence as attributes ; his commentators could 
easily give them a real existencQ as substances | especially as the terms which he 
used to designate them, avT<7 Tokd\oi', avro to aya^oi', essential beauty, essential 
goodness, lent themselves to this substantialization (bypostfu-ruj. — G. 

We have retained this view of the original i)hilosophy of Plato, in which there 
is probably much truth. The genius of Plato was rather metaphysical 11. an ini- 
personalive : his poetry was in his language, rather than, like thai of the Orien- 
tals, in his conceptions. — M. 

* The philosophy of Plato was not the only source of tVat professed in the 
school of Alexandria. That city, in which Greek, Jewi.^ih, and Egyptian men of 
letters were assembled, was the scene of a strange fusion of the t;ystem of these 
three people. The Greek brought a Plalonism, already much changed ; the Jews, 
w4io had acquired at Babylon a great number of Oriental notions, and whose theo 
logical opinions had undergone great changes by this intercourse, endeavored to 
reconcile Plalonism with their new doctrine, and disllgured it entirely ; lastly, 
the Egyptians, who were not willing to abandon notions for which the Greeks 
themselves enter' ained respect, endeavored on their side to reconcile their own 
with those of their neighbors. It is iuEcclesiasticus and the Wisdom of Solomon 
that we trace theinflaence of Oriental philosophy rather than that of Platoni:^m« 
We find in these books, and in those of the later prophets, as in Ezekiel, notions 
unknown to the Jews before the Babylonian captivity, of which we do not dis- 
cover the germ in Plato, l)ut which are manifestly derived from the Orientals. 
Thus God represented under the image of light, and the principle of evil under 
that of darkness ; the history of the good and bad angels ; paradise and hell, &c., 
are doctrines of which the origin, or at least the positive determination, can only 
be referred to the Oriental philosophy. Plato supposed matter eternal ; the 
Orientals and the Jews considered it as a creation of God, who alone was eternal. 
It is impossible to explain the philosophy of the Alexandrian school solely by the 
blending of the Jewish theology with the Greek philosophy. The Oriental phil- 
osophy, however little it may be known, is recognized at every instant. Thus, ac- 
cording to the Zend Avesta, it is by the Word (honover) more aaicient than the 
world, that Ornnizd created the universe. This word is the lof/o.s of Philo, conse- 
quently very different from that of Plato. I have shown that Plato never per- 
sonified the logos as the ideal archetype of the world : Philo ventured thi^ person- 
ification. The Deity, according to him, iias a double logos ; the first (A6yo? 
ei/5ia0€Tos) is the ideal archetype of the world, the ideal world, the first-boni of 
the Deity ; the g3cond (A6-yo? ■irpo<j)6piKo^) is the worditself of God, personified under 
the image of a being acting to create the sensible world, and to make it like to the 
ideal world : it is the second born of God. Following out his imaginations, Philo 
went so far as to personify anew the ideal world, under the image of a celestial 
man (oupavto? av<;:poiTro^), the primitive type of man, and the sensible world under 
the image of another man less perfect than the celestial man. Certain notions of 
the Oriental philosophy may have g.ven lise to this strange abuse of allegory, 
which it is suHicient to relate, to show what alterations pfatonism had already 
undergone, and what was their sourc-e. Philo, moreover, of all the Jews of Alex- 
andria, is the one whose Plalonism is the most pure. (See Bulile, Introd. to Jiist. 
of Mod. Philosophy. Michaelis, Introd. to New Test, in German, part ii. p. f)7,S.) 
It is from this mixture of Orientalism, Plalonism, and Judaism, that Gnosticism 
arose, which has produced so many theological and philosophical extravagancies, 
and in which Oriental notions evidently predominate. — G. 



or THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 209 

with diligence, and embraced with ardor, tlie theological sys- 
tem of the Athenian sage. But their national pride would 
have been mortified by a fair confession of their former pov- 
erty: and they boldly marked, as tlie sacred inheritance of 
their ancestors, the gold and jewels which they had so lately 
stolen from their Egyptian masters. One hundred years 
before the birth of Christ, a philosophical treatise, which 
manifestly betrays the style and sentiments of the school of 
Plato, was produced by the Alexandrian Jews, and nnani- 
mously received as a genuine and valuable relic of the insj)ired 
Wisdom of Solomon,^^ A similar union of the Mosaic faith 
and the Grecian philosophy, distinguishes the works of Philo, 
which were composed, for the most j^art, under the reign of 
AuGfustus.'^^ The material soul of the universe ^^ mifjht offend 
the piety of the Hebrews : but they applied the character of 
the Logos to the Jehovah of Moses and the patriarchs ; and 
the Son of Ood was introduced upon earth under a visible, 
and even human appearance, to pei-forni those familiar offices 
which seem incompatible with the nature and attributes of 
the Universal Cause.^^ 

The eloquence of Plato, the name of Solomon, the au- 
thority of the school of Alexandria, and the consent of the 
Jews and Greeks, were insufficient to establish the truth of 
a mj^sterious doctrine, which might please, but could not 
satisfy, a rational mind. A prophet, or apostle, insj^ired by 
the Deity, can alone exercise a lawful dominion over the 
faith of mankind : and the theology of Plato might have 

1" See Calmet, Dissert-atious sur la Bible, torn. ii. p. 277. The book of the Wis- 
dom of Soloinou was received by many of the fathers as the work of that monarch ; 
andahhough rejected by the Protestants for want of a Hebrew original, ithas ob- 
tained, with the rest of ihe Vulgat«, the sanction of the council of Trent. 

T'' The Plantonism of I liilo, which was famous to a proverb, is pi-oved beyond 
a doubt by Le Clerc (Epist. Crit. viii. pp. 211-228.) Basnage (Hist, des Juifs, 1. 
iv. c- 5) lias clearly ascertained, that the theological works of Philo were composed 
before the death, and most probably before the birth, of Christ. In such a time 
of darkness, the knowledge of Philo is more astonishing thaii his errors. Bull, 
Defens. Fid, Isicen. s. i. c. i. p. 12. 

i^Mensagitatmolem, et magno se corpore miscet. 

Besides tliis material soul, Cudworth has discovered (p. 562) in Amelius, Por- 
phyrv, Plotinus, and, as he thinks, in Plato himself, a superior,spirituul hyptrcos- 
7/iia?i"Koulof the universe. But this double sord is exploded by Bruckcr, Bas- 
nage. and Le Clerc, as an idle fancy of the latter Platoniots. 

I'-'Patav. Dogmata Theologica, tom.ii. 1. Niii. c. 2, p. 7D1. Bull, Defens. Fid. 
Kicen. s. i. c. 1. pp. 8, 13. This notion, till it was abused by the Arians, was freely 
adopted in the Christian theology, Tertuliian (adv. I'raxeam, c, 10) has a remark- 
able and dangerous passage. After contrasting, with indiscreet wit, the nature 
of God, an<l the actions of Jehovah, he concludes: Sell cet ut luec de filio Dei 
non credeuda f uisse, si nou scripta essent ; forlasse noa credenda de Patre licet 
scripta.* 



* Tertuliian is here arguing against the Patripassians ; those who asserted 
that the Father was born of the Virgin, died and was buried.— M. 

Vol. II.— 14 



210 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

been forever confounded with the philosopliieal visions of 
the Academy, tlie Porch, and the Lyca3um, if the name and 
attributes of the Logos liad not been confirmed by the ce- 
lestial pen of the last and most sublime of the Evangelists.-^ 

'0 The Platonists admired the heginnin^j of the Gospel of St. John, as contain- 
ing an exact transcript of their own principles. Augustin, de ( ivilat. Dei. x. 29. 
Amelius apud Cyril, advers. Julian 1. viii. ]>. 283. Bat in the third and fourth 
centuries, the Platonists of Alexandria might improve their Trinity, by the secret 
study of the Christian theology.* 



* A short discussion on the sense in which St. John has used the word Logos, 
will prove that he has not borrowed it from the philosophy of I'lato. The evan- 
gelist adopts this word without previous explanation, as a term with which his 
contemporaries were already familiar, and which they could at once conip. ehend. 
To know the sense Avhich he gave to it, we must inqidre that which it generally 
bore in his time. AVe find two : the one attached to the word logos by the Jews 
of Palestine, the other by the school of Alexandria, particularly by P'hilo. The 
Jews had feared at all times to pronounce the name of Jehovah; they had formctl 
a habit of designating God by one of his attributes ; they called him some- 
times Wisdom, sometimes the Word. Bn the xcovd of the Lord were the hearens 
made. (Psalm xxxiii.C). Accustomed to allegories, they often addres.>;ed them- 
selves to this attribute of the Deily as a real being. Solomon makes Wisdom say, 
" The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. 1 
was set up from everlasting, from th^ beginning, or ever the earth was." (Prov. 
viii. 22, 23). Their residence in Persia only increased tluG inclination to sust.iined 
allegories. In the Ecclesiasticus of the son of Sirach, and the Book of Wisdonj, 
we find allegorical descriptions of Wisdom like the following: **I came out of 
the mouth of the INIost High ; 1 covered the earth as a cloud ;**■*• 1 alone com- 
passed the circuit of heaven, and walked in the bottom of the deep * * * The 
Creator created me from the beginning, before the wo: Id, and I shall never fail." 
(Eecles. xxiv. 35-39). See aleo the Wisdom of Solomon, c. vii. v. !♦. [The latter 
book is clearly Alexandvian. — M.] We see from this tliat the Jews understood 
from the Hebrew and Chaldaic words which signify Wisdom, the Word, and 
which were translated into Greek by ao^ia, Ao-yoc, a simple attribute of the Deity, 
allegorically personified, but of which they did not make a real j. articular being, 
separate from the Deity. 

The school of Alexai^.dria, on the contrary, and Philo among the rest, min- 
gling Greek with Jewish and Oi"iental notions, and abandoning himstlf to his 
inclination to mysticism, pcrsonined the lofjos and represented it (see note, p. 307) 
as a distinct being, created l)y God, and intermediace between God and man. 
This is th 3 second loqoa of Philo (\6-/ot Trpo<j)6piKo<;) that which acts from the be- 
ginning of the world, alone in its kind (aovoyefr)^), creator of the sensible world 
(■cocTiixo? aio-^TjTo?), formed by God accordiiig to the ideal world ((cao-wo? kot/tcs), 
which he had in himself, and which was the first logos (o acwTaTw), the first born 
(6 Trpia-^vTfpo<; vio<;) of the Deity. The lof/os taken in this sejise, then, w:is a created 
being, but, ant.^rior to the creation of the world, near to God, and charged 
with his revelations to mankind. 

AVhich of these two senses is that which St. John intended to assign to the 
word logos in the first chapter of his Gospel, and in all his writings ? 

St. John was a Jew, born and educated in Palestirc ; he had no knowledge, at 
least very little, of the philosophy of the Greeks, and tha^ of the Grecizing Jews ; 
lie would naturally, then, attach to the word logos the sense attached to it by the 
Jews of Palestine. If, in fact, we compare the attributes which he assigns to the 
logos with those which are assigned to it in Prove- bs, in the Wisdom of Solomon, 
in Ecclesiasticus, we shall see that the^y are the same. The Word was in the 
world, juid the world was made by him ; in him was life, and the life was the 
light of men (c. i. v. 10-14). It is impossible not to trace in this chapter the ideas 
which the Jews had formed of the allegorized logos. The evangelist afterwards 
really personifies that which his predecessors have personified only poeti( ally ; for 
he a.lirms that the Word became flesh " (v. 14). It v.as to prove this that he wrote. 
Closely exami?ied, the ideas which he gives of the fo^.fos cannot agree with those 
of Philo and the school of Alexandria ; they correspond, on the contrary, with 
those of the Jews of Palestine. Perhaps St. John, employing a v. ell-known 
term to explain a doetrine which was yet unknown, has slightly ;)ltercd the sense ; 
it is the alteration which we appear to discover on comparing diliercnt pasr ages 
of his writinsrs. 

It is worthy of remark, that the Jews of Palestine, who did not perceive this 



OF THE EOMAX EMPIRE. 211 

The Christian Revelation, which was consummated under 
the reign of Nerva, disclosed to the w^orld tlie amazinp; secret, 
that the Logos, who was Avitli God from the beginning, and 
was God, who had made all tilings, and for whom all tilings 
had been made, was incarnate in the person of Jesus of Naz- 
areth ; who had l)een born of a virgin, and suffered death on 
tlie cross. Besides the general design of fixing on a i)er- 
petual basis tlie divine honors of Christ, the most ancient 
and respectable of the ecclesiastical writers have ascribed to 
the evangelic theologian a particular intention to confute 
two opposite heresies, which disturbed the peace of the 
primitive church. ^^ I. The faith of the Ebionitcs,-^ perhaps 
of the Nazarenes,^^ was gross and imperfect. They revered 
Jesus as the greatest of the pro])liets, endowed with super- 
natural virtue and power. They ascribed to his person and 
to his future reign all the predictions of the Hebrew oracles 
which relate to the spiritual and everlasting kingdom of the 
promised Messiah.'^* Some of them might confess that he 
was born of a A^irgin ; but they obstinately rejected the ])re- 
ceding existence and divine perfections of the Jjogos^ or Son 
of God, which are so clearly defined in the Gospel of St. 
John. About fifty years afterwards, the Ebionites, whose 

21 See Beausobre, Hist. Critique du Maiiiclieisnie, torn. i. p, 377. The Gospel 
according to St. Joliu is t:;uppo3e(l to have been published about seventy years after 
the death of Christ. 

2- The sentiments of the Ebionites are fairly stated by Mosheim (p. 331) and 
Le Clerc (Hist. Eccles. p. 535). The Clementines, published among the apostolical 
fathers, are attributed by the critics to one of these se* taries. 

-^ Stanch polemics, like Bull (Judicium, Eccles. Cathol. c. 2), insist on the 
orthodoxy of the Nazarenes ; which appears less pure and certain in the eyes of 
Mosheinr(p. 330). 

-* The humble condition and sufferings of -Jesus have always been a stumbling 
block to the Jews. " Deus * * * contrariis coloribus Vlessiam depinxerat ; futur- 
us, erat Bex, Judex, Pastor," &c. See Limborch et Orobio Arnica Collat. pp. s, 
19, 53-7G, 192-2.34. But this objection has obliged the believing Christians to lift 
up their eyes to a spiritual and everlasting kingdom. 



alteration, could And nothing extraordinary in what St. John said of the Logos ; 
at least they comprehended it wiUiout difhculty, while the Greeks and Grecizing 
Jews, on their part, brought to it prejudices and preconceptions easily reconciled 
with those of the evangelist, who did not expressly contradict them. This cir- 
cumstance must hive much favored the progress of Christianity. Thus the 
fathors of the church in the two first centuries and later, formed almost all in 
the school of Alexandria, gave to the Logos of St. John a sense nearly similar to 
that which it received from PhiJo. Their doctrine approached very near to that 
which in the fourth century the council of Nice condemned in the person of 
Arius. — G. 

M. Guizot has forgotten the long residence of St. John at Eph; sas, the centre 
of the mingling opinions of the East and West, which were gradually growing 
up into Gnosticism. (See Matter. Hist, du Gnosticisme, vol. i. p. 151.) St. John's 
sense of the Logos seems as far removed from the simple allegory ascribed to the 
Palestinian Jews as from the Oriental impersonation of the Alexandrian. The 
simple truth may be. that St. John took the f.imiliar term, and, as it were, infused 
into it the peculiar and Christian sense in which it is used in his writings. — M. 



212 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

errors are mentioned by Justin Martyr with less severity 
than they seem to deserve,^ formed a very inconsiderable por- 
tion of the C'hrislian name. II. The Gnostics, wlio were 
distinguished by tlie e])ithet of Docetes^ deviated into the 
contrary extreme ; and betrayed tlie human, wliile they as- 
serted the divine, nature of Christ. Educated in the school 
of Plato, accustojned to the sublime idea of the Loyos^ they 
readily conceived that the brightest JEo7i^ ox Emanation of 
the Deity, might assume the outward shape and visible 
appearances of a mortal ; -^ but they vainly pretended, that 
the imperfections of matter are incompatible witli the 
purity of a celestial substance. . Wliile the blood of Christ 
yet smoked on Mount Calvary, the Docetes invented the 
impious and extravagant liypothesis, that, instead of issuing 
from the womb of the Virgin,^"^ he had descended on the 
banks of the Jordan in the form of perfect manhood ; that 
he had imposed on the senses of his enemies, and of liis 
disciples ; and that the ministers of Pilate had wasted their 
impotent rage On an airy phantom, who seemed Xq expire on 
the cross, and, after three days, to rise from the dead.-^ 

25 Justin Martyr. Dialog, cum Tryphoute, pp. 143, 144. See Le Clerc, Hist. 
Eccles. p. 615. Bull and His editor Grabe (Judiiinm Eccles. (atliol. c. 7, and Ap- 
pendix) attempt to distort either the sentiments or the wo.ds of Justin ; but 
their violent correction of the text is rejected even by the Benedictine editors. 

^u The Arians reproached the orthodox party with borrowing their Trinity 
from the Valentinians and Marcionites. See Beausobre, Hist, du ]\Iauicheisme, 
1. iii. c. 5, 7. 

2? Non dignum est ex utero credere Deum, et Deum Christum * * * non 
dignum est ut tanta majestas per hordes et squalores mulieris transire oredatur. 
The Gnostics asserted the impui ity of matter and of marriage ; and they were 
scandalized by the gross interpretations of the fathers, andeveu of Augustiii 
himself. See Beausobre torn. ii. p. 523.* 

-^ Apostolis adhuc in saeculo superstitibus apud Jud.neam Christi sanguine re- 
cente, et phantasma corpus Domini asserebatur. Cotelerius thinks (Patres Apos- 



* The greater part of the Docetse rejected the true divinity of Jesus Christ as well 
as his human nature. They belonged to the Gnostics, whom some philosophers, 
in whose party Gibbon has enlisted, make to derive their opinions from those of 
Plato. These philosophers did not consider that Platonism had undergone con- 
tinual alterations, and that those which gave it fome analogy with the notions of 
the Gnostics were later in their origin than most of the sects comprehended under 
this name, Mosheim has proved (in his Instit, Histor, Eccles. ]\Iajor. s. i. p. 136, 
sqq. and p. 3.39, sqq,\ that the Oriental philosophy, combined with the cabalitUital 
philosophy of the Jews, had given birth to Gnosticism. The relations which exist 
between this doctrine and the records which remain to ns of that of the Ori.^ntals, 
the Chaldean, and Persian, have been tlie source of the errors of the Gnostic 
Christians, who wished to reconcile their ancient notions with their now belief. 
It is on this account that, denying the human natuve of Chri.;t, they also de- 
nied his intimate union with God, and took him for one of the s ibstances (a.>ons) 
created by Cod. As they believed in the eternity of matter, and considered it to 
be the principle of evil, in opposition to the Deity, the lirst cause and princi]'lc of 
good, they were unwilling to admit that one of the pure substances, one of the 
aions which came forth from God, had, by partaking in the material nature, allied 
himself to the princiT»le of evil ; and this was their motive for rejecting the real 
humanity of Jesus Christ, See Ch. G, F, VValch, Hist, of Heresies in Germ, t. i. 
p. 217, sqq, Brucker, Hist. Crit, Phil, ii- p. 639.— G. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 213 

The divine sanction, which the Apostle had bestowed on 
the fundamental principle of the theology of Plato, encour- 
aged the learned proselytes of the second and third centuries 
to admire and study the writings of the Athenian sage, who 
had thus marvellously anticipated one of the most surpris- 
ing discoveries of the Christian revelation. The respectable 
name of Plato was used by the orthodox,"^ and abused by 
the heretics,^^ as the common support of truth and error : 
the authority of his skilful commentators, and the science of 
dialectics, were employed to justify the remote consequences 
of his opinions and to supply the discreet silence of the in- 
spired writers. The same subtle and profound questions 
concerning the nature, the generation, the distinction, and 
the equality of the three divine persons of the mysterious 
Triad., or Trinity^^^ were agitated in the philosophical and 
in the Christian schools of Alexandria. An eager spirit of 
curiosity urged them to explore the secrets of the abyss ; 
and the-^)ride of the professors, and of their disciples, was 
satisfied with the science of words. But the most sagacious 

tol. torn. ii. p. 24) that those who will not allow the Dncefea to have arisen in the 
time of the Apostles, may with equal reasoji deny that the sun shines at noon- 
day. These Doretcs, who formed the most eonsiderablo party among the Gnostics 
were so called, because they granted oidy a sccnihii/ body to Chri>t.t 

23 Some proofs of the respect which the Christians entertained for the person 
and doctrine of Plato may b-j found in L>e la Mothe le Vayer, tom. v. p. 135, &c., 
edit. 1757 ; and IJasnage, Hist, des Juifs, tom. iv. pp. 29, 70, &c. 

^> Doleo bona tide, Platonem omnium herfcticorum condimentarium factum. 
Tertnllian. de Anima, o. 23. Petavius (Dogm. Theolog. torn. iii. proleg. 2) shows 
that this was a fjeneral complaint. Bcausobre (tom. i. 1. iii. c. 9, 10) has deduced 
the Gnostic errors from Plalouic principles ; and as, in tin; school of Alexandria, 
those principles were blended with the Oriental philosophy (Brucker. tom. i. p. 
13,50), the sentiment of l><;ausobre may be reconciled with the o.pinion of Mos- 
heim (General History of the Church, vol. i. p. 37). 

^1 If Theophilus, bishop of Antiocli(see Dupin, Biblioth6qne Ecclesinstique, 
tom. i. p. (if)), was the lirst who employed the word Trlarf, Trinity, that abstract 
term, whi<h was already familiar to the schools of philosophy, must have bi^en 
introduced into the theology of the Christians after the middle of the second 
century. 



t The name of Docetrc wns given to these sectaries only in the course of the 
second century : tins name did not designate a sect, properly so called ; it ar>plied 
to all the sects who tauglit the non-reality of the material body of Christ ; of this 
numl)er were the Valentinians, the Basili<lians, the Ophites, the jNIarcionitcs 
(a'jainst whom Tertnllian wrote his book De Carne Christi), and other (Jlnosti( s. 
In truth, Clement of Alexandria (1. iii. Strom, c. 13, p. 552) makes express men- 
tion of a sect of Docetffi, and even names as one of its heads a certain Cassianns ; 
but everything leads us to believe that it was not a distinct sect. Philastrius 
(de Uteres, c. 31) reproaches S-iturninus with being a D(< ete. Ircna^rs (adv. 
ilc'cr. c. 23) makes the same renroac h against Basilid; s. Epiphanius and 
Philastrius. who have treated in detail on each particular heresy, do ]iot specially 
name that of the Docetfp. Serapion, bishop of Antio(h(Euseb. Hist. Ec<;les. 1. vi. c. 
12), and Clement of Alexandria (1. vii. Strom, p. 900), appear to be the first who 
have used the generic name. It is not found i:i a"y earli )r record, 1 hough the 
error which it ))oints out existed even in the lime of the Ai^ostlcs. Sc; ('\\. G. F. 
Walch, Hist, of Her. v. i. p. 283. Tillemont, IMcm. pour servir alu llio'. Eccles. 
ii. p. 50. Buddicus dc Eccles. Apost. c. 5, § 7.— G. 



214 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of the Christian theologians the great Athanasius himself, 
has candidly confessed,^- that whenever he forced his under- 
standing to meditate on the divinity of the Logos^ his toil- 
some and unavailing efforts recoiled on themselves; that the 
more he thought, the less he comprehended ; and the more 
he wrote, the less capable was he of expressing his thoughts. 
In every step of the inquiry, we are compelled to feel and 
acknowledge the immeasurable disproportion between the 
size of the object and the capacity of the human mind. AYe 
may strive to abstract the notions of time, of space, and of 
matter, which so closely adhere to all the perceptions of our 
experimental knowledge. But as soon as we presume to 
reason of infinite substance, of spiritual generation ; as often 
as we deduce any positive conclusions from a negative idea, 
we are involved in darkness, perplexity, and inevitable con- 
tradiction. As these difficulties arise from the nature of the 
subject, they oppress, with the same insuperable weight, the 
philosophic and the theological disputant ; but ^'e may 
observe two essential and peculiar circumstances, which dis- 
criminated the doctrines of the Catholic church from the 
opinions of the Platonic school. 

1. A chosen society of philosophers, men of a liberal 
education and curious disposition, might silently meditate, 
and temperately discuss in the gardens of Athens or the 
library of Alexandria, the abstruse questions of metaphys- 
ical science. The lofty speculations, which neither con- 
vinced the understanding, nor agitated the passions, of the 
Platonists themselves, were carelessly overlooked by the 
idle, the busy, and even the studious part of raankind.^^ But 
after the Logos had been revealed as the sacred object of 
the faith, the hope, and the religious worship of the Chris- 
tians, the mysterious system was embraced by a numerous 
and increasing multitude in every province of the Roman 
world. Those persons who, from their age, or sex, or oc- 
cupations, were the least qualified to judge, who were the 
least exercised in the habits of abstract reasoning, aspired 
to contemplate tlie economy of the Divine Nature : and it 

32 Athanasius, torn. i. p. 808. His expressions have an uncommon energy; 
and as he was writing to monks, there could not be any occasion for him to a^'cct 
a rational lanfrnage. 

'^'^ In a tr«?aliPo, which professed to explain the opinions of the ancient philos- 
ophers concerning tlie nature of the gods, we might expect to discover the theo- 
logical Trinity of Plato. But Cicero very honestly confessed, thnt nlthough he 
liad translated the 'rimieus, he could never understand that mysterious dialogue. 
See Ilieronym. prasf. ad 1. xii. in Isaiam, torn. v. p. 154. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 215 

is the boast of Tertullian,^'* that a Christian mechanic could 
readily answer such questions as had per])lexed the wisest 
of the Grecian sashes. Where the subject lies so far beyond 
pur reach, the difference between the higjhest and the lowest 
of human understandings may indeed be calculated as in- 
finitely small ; yet the degree of weakness may perhaps be 
measured by the degree of obstinacy and dogmatic confi- 
dence. These speculations, instead of being treated as the 
amusement of a vacant hour, became the most serious business 
of the ju'csent, and the most useful preparation for a future, 
life. A theology, Avhich it was incumbent to believe, which 
it was impious to doubt, and which it might be dangerous, and 
even fatal, to mistake, became the familiar topic of private 
meditation and popular discourse. The cold indifference of 
philosophy was inflamed by the fervent spirit of devotion ; 
and even the metaphors of common language sugo^ested the 
fallacious prejudices of sense and experience. The Chris- 
tians, who abhorred the gross and impure generation of the 
Greek mythology, ^^ were tempted to argue from the familiar 
analogy of the filial and paternal relations. The character 
of Son seemed to imply a perpetual subordination to the 
voluntary author of his existence ; "*^ but as the act of gen- 
eration, in the most spiritual and abstracted sense, must be 
supposed to transmit the properties of a common nature,^^ 
they durst not presume to circumscribe the powers or the 
duration of the Son of an eternal and omnipotent Father. 
Fourscore years after the death of Christ, the Christians of 
Bithynia declai-ed before the tribunal of Pliny, that they 
invoked him as a god : and his divine honors have been 
perpetuated in every age and country, by the various sects 
who assume the name of his disciples.^*^ Their tender rever- 

3-* TertuUian. in Apolog. c- 46. See Bayle, Dic/iionnaire, an mot Siwouide 
His remarks on the pre.sumptiou of Tertulliaii are profouml and iiuerestiny. 

='•' LactaiidiiB, iv. 8. Yet the Probnle, or Profn/io, wliicli the most orthodox 
divines borrowed without scruple from the Valentiuiaiis, and illustrated l>y tlio 
comparisons <^)f a fountain and stream, the sun and its rays. &c., eitlier meant 
nothing, or favored a material idea of the divine generation. Sec Beausobre, 
torn. i. 1. iii. c. 7, p. 548. 

:'<5 jMany of the primitive writers have frankly confessed, that the Son owed 
Lis being to tlie irlll < f tlie Father. See (Jlarke's Scnpture Trinity, pi). 280-287. 
On the other liand, Athanasius and Ins followers seem unwilling to grant what 
tliey are afraid to <leny. The sclioolmen extrieate tliemselvesfrom this difflcnlty 
by the distinction of a preccdbuj and a concomitant will. Petav. Dogm. Theolog. 
torn. ii. 1. vi. c. 8, pp. 5.^7-00.']. 

^'^ See Petav. Dogm. Theolog. torn. ii. 1. ii. c. 10, p. 150. 

''8 Carmenqno Christo quasi ])co dicere seciim inviccm. Plin. Kpist. x. 97. 
The sen-e of Dens, &fh-, L'/ohim, in the ancient languages, is critically examined 
by Lo rierc (Ars. Critira, pp. l.^O-inr.^ and the propriety of worshipping a, very 
excellent creature is ably defended by the Socinian KmJyn (Tracts, pp. 29-.36,,51- 
145). 



216 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

ence for the memory of Christ, and their horror for the pro- 
fane worship of any created being, would liave engaged them 
to assert the equal and absolute divinity of the JLogos^ if 
their rapid ascent towards the throne of heaven had not 
been imperceptibly checked by the apprehension of violating 
the unity and sole supremacy of the gi-eat Father of Christ 
and of the Universe. The suspense and fluctuation pro- 
duced in the minds of the Christians by these opposite ten- 
dencies, may be observed in the writings of the theologians 
who flourished after the end of the apostolic age, and before 
the origin of the Arian controversy. Their suffrage is 
claimed, with equal confidence, by the orthodox and by the 
heretical parties ; and the most inquisitive critics have fairly 
allowed, that if they had the good fortune of possessing the 
Catholic verity, they have delivered their conceptions in 
loose, inaccurate, and sometimes contradictory language.^ 

II. The devotion of individuals was thefirst circumstance 
which distinguished the Christians from the Platonists : the 
second was the authority of the church. The disciples of 
philosophy asserted the rights of intellectual freedom, and 
their respect for the sentiments of their teachers was a 
liberal and voluntary tribute, ^vhich they offered to superior 
reason. But the Christians formed a numerous and disci- 
plined society ; and the jurisdiction of their laws and magis- 
trates w^as strictly exercised over the minds of the faithful. 
The loose wanderings of the imagination w^ere gradually 
confined by creeds and confessions ; ^*^ the freedom of private 
judgment submitted to the public wasdom of synods ; the 
authority of a theologian was determined by his ecclesiastical 
rank ; and the episcopal successors of the apostles inflicted 
the censures of the church on those w'ho deviated from the 
orthodox belief. But in an age of religious controversy 
every act of oppression adds new force to the elastic vigor 
of the mind ; and the zeal or obstinacy of a spiritual rebel 
V\\as sometimes stimulated by secret motives of ambition or 
avarice. A metaphysical argument became the cause or 

35 See Daillfe de Usu Patrum, and Le Clerc, Bibliothfeque Universelle, torn. x. 

{). 409. To ariaigu the faith of the Ante-Niceue fathers, was the object, or at 
east has been the effect, of the stupendous work of Petavins on the Trinity 
(Dogm. Theolog. torn, ii.); nor has the deep impression been erased by the 
learned defence of Bishop Bull.* 

*• The most ancient creeds were drawn up with the greatest latitude. See 
Bull (Judicium Eccles. Cathol.) wlio tries to prevent Eoiscopius from deriving 
any advantage from this observation. 



* Dr. Burton's work on the doctrine of the Antc-Nicene fathers must be con 
suited by those who wish to obtaiii clear notions on this :jubjcct. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 217 

pretence of political contests ; the subtleties of the Platonic 
school were used as the badges of popular factions, and the 
distance which separated their respective tenets was enlarged 
or magnified by the acrimony of dispute. As long as the 
dark lieresies of Praxeas and Sabellius labored to confound 
the Father with the Son^'^'^ the orthodox party might be 
excused if they adhered more strictly and more earnestly 
to the distinction^ than to the equalitu^ of the divine per- 
sons. But as soon as the heat of controversy had subsided, 
and the progress of the Sabellians was no longer an object 
of terror to the churches of Rome, of Africa, or of Egypt, 
the tide of theological opinion began to flow with a gentle 
but steady motion towards the contrary extreme ; and the 
most orthodox doctors allowed themselves the use of the 
terms and definitions which had been censured in tlie mouth 
of the sectaries.^^ After the edict of toleration had restored 
peace and leisure to tlie Christians, the Trinitarian contro- 
versy was revived in the ancient seat of Platonism, the 
learned, the opulent, the tumultuous city of Alexandria ; and 
the flame of religious discord was rapidly communicated from 
the schools to the clergy, the people, the province, and the 
East. The abstruse question of the eternity of the Logos 
was agitated in ecclesiastic conferences and popular ser- 
mons ; and the heterodox opinions of Arius ^^ were soon 
made public by his own zeal, and by that of his adversaries. 
His most implacable adversaries have acknowledged the 
learning and blameless life of that eminent presbyter, who, 
in a former election, had declined, and perhaps generously 
declined,' his pretensions to the episcopal throne.'*^ ITis 
competitor Alexander assumed the oflice of his judge. The 
important cause was argued before him ; and if at first he 
seemed to hesitate, he at length pronounced his final sen- 
tence, as an absolute rule of faith.'^'^ The undaunted pres- 

^^ The here ies of Praxeas, Sabellius, &c., are accurately explained by M(^s- 
heini (pj^. 425, Cm -714). P^-axeas, who came to Rome about the end of the second 
century, deceived, for some time, the simi^licity of the bishop, and was confuted 
by the pen of the angry Tertullian. 

•*- Socrates acknowledges, that the heresy of Arius proceeded from his strong 
desire to embrace an opinion the most diametrically opposite to that of Sabel- 
lius. 

^3 The figure and manners of Arius, the character ;ind numbers of his first 
proselytes, are painted in very lively colors by Epiidianius (torn. 1. llieres. 
Ixix. 3, p. 72'J), and we cannot bat regret that he should soon forget the historian, 
to assume the task of controversy. 

■i^ See Philostorgius (1. i. c. .1)1^ and Godefroy's ample Commentary. Yet the 
credibility of Philostorgius is lessened, iii the eyes of the orthodox, by his Arian- 
ism ; and in those of rational critics, by his passion, his prejudice, and his igiu> 
ranee. 

••sSozomen 1. (i. c. 15) represents Alexander as indifferent, and even ignorant 
in the beirinnhi^ of the controversy ; while Socrates (1. i.e. 5) ascribes the ori- 



218 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

bytgr, Avho presumed to resist the authority of his nngry 
bishop, was separated from the communion of the churcli. 
But the pride of Arius was supported l-y tlie apj^lause of a 
numerous party. lie reckoned among liis immediate follow- 
ers two bishoj)s of Egypt, seven presbyters, twelve deacons, 
and (what may appear almost incredible) seven hundred 
virgins. A large majority of the bishops of Asia appeared 
to sui)port or favor his cause; and their measures were con- 
ducted by Eusebius of Caesarea, the most learned of the 
Christian prelates ; and by Eusebius of Nicomedia, who had 
acquired the reputation of a statesman without foi-feiting 
that of a saint. Synods in Palestine and Bithynia were op- 
posed to the synods of Egypt. The attention of the prince 
and people Avas atti-acted by this theological dispute ; and 
the decision, at the end of six years,""^ was referred to the 
supreme authority of the general council of Nice. 

When the mysteries of the Christian faith were danger- 
ously exposed to public debate, it might be observed, that 
the liuman understandino- was callable of forming three dis- 
tinct, though imperfect systems, concerning the nature of 
the Divine Trinity; and it was pronounced that none of 
these systems, in a pure and absolute sense, were exempt 
from heresy and error.^'^ I. According to the first hypothe- 
sis, which was maintained by Arius and his disciples, the 
Logos was a dependent and spontaneous |)roduction, created 
from nothing by the will of the father. The Son, by whom 
all things were made,'*'^ had been begotten before all worlds, 
and the longest of the astronomical periods could be com- 
pared only as a lleeting moment to the extent of his dura- 
tion ; yet this duration was not infinite, ^^ and there had 
been a time which preceded the ineffable generation of the 
Logos. On this only-begotten Son, the Aln^ghty Father 

<iiu of tlie dispute to the \\\\n curiosity of his tlieologi'/al spcrr.lalion?. Dr. J<n- 
tiu (lACUiarlvs on Ecclesiastical History, vol. ii. p. 17^i) has <!eiisureU, with liis 
usual freedom, the coiaiact of Alexander ; Trpbs opyt\v c^aTrrtTai * *• * i/noitof 
<l>p6i'eii' e'<e'A€uae. 

■^^ The liauies of Ariauism might burn for some time in secret ; hut there is 
reason to believe that they burst out with violence as early r.,s the year GIS). Til- 
lemont, Mtini. Eccles. torn. vii. pp. 774-780. 

*•' Quid crcdidit ? (Jerte, ait/ tria noniina audiens trcs Deos esse credidit, et 
idololatra elfcctus est; aat in tribus vocabulis trinoniiiu^m crcdeus Deum, in 
Sabellii hicresim incurrii ; rm/ cdoctus ab Arianis unuui esse vcruiu Deum Pa- 
trem, liliiim ct spiiitum sanctum credidit crcaUuas. Aut extra h.TC quid oic- 
dero potuerit nescio. llieronyni. adv. Luciferauios. derom reserves for the last 
the orthodox system, which is more complicated and diflicult. 

^^ As tbe doctrine of absolute creation from n"i ■ ing was uradunlly introduced 
among the Christians (Beausohre, torn. ii. pp. 1G5-2IM, the dignity of the work- 
man very naturally rose with that (-f the loork. 

45 The metaphysics of Dr. Clarke (Scripture Trinity, pp. 2TG-l.'80' could digeet 
an eternal generation from an inlinite cause. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 219 

had transfused liis ample spirit, and impressed the effulgence 
of his glory. Visible image of invisible perfection, he saw, 
at an immeasurable distance beneath his feet, the thrones of 
the briglitest archangels ; yet he shone only with a reflected 
light, and, like the sons of the Roman emperors, who were 
invested with the titles of Csesar or Augustus,^^ he governed 
the universe in obedience to the will of his Father and Mon- 
arch. II. In the second hypothesis, the Logos possessed all 
the inherent, incommunicable perfections, which religion 
and philosophy appropi'iate to the Supreme God. Three 
distinct and infinite minds or substances, three coequal and 
coetern;d beings, composed the Divine Essence ; ^^ and it 
w^ould have implied contradiction, that any of them should 
not have existed, or that they should ever cease to exist.^^ 
The advocates of a system which seemed to establish three 
independent Deities, attempted to j)reserve the unity of the 
First Cause, so conspicuous in the design and order of the 
"world, by the perpetual concord of their administration, and 
the essential agreement of their will. A faint resemblance 
of this unity of action may be discovered in the societies of 
men, and even of animals. The causes Avhich disturb their 
harmony, proceed only from the imperfection and inequality 
of their faculties; but the omnipotence which is guided by 
infinite wisdom and goodness, cannot fail of choosing the 
same means for the accomplishment of the same ends. III. 
Three beings, who, by the self-derived necessity of tlieir ex- 
istence, possess all the divine attributes in the most perfect 
degree; who are eternal in duration, infinite in space, and 
intimately present to each other, and to the Avhole universe ; 
irresistibly force themselves on the astonished mind, as one 
and the same being,^^ wlio, in the oeconomy of grace, as well 
as in that of nature, may manifest himself undji- different 
forms, and be considered under different aspects. By this 
hypothesis, a real substantial trinity is refined into a trinity 

s*' This profane and absurd simile is employed by several of the primitive 
fathers, particularly by Atliena(,'oras, in his Ai)olocry to the emperor Marcus and 
his son ; and it is alleged, without censure, by Bull himself. See Defens. Fid. 
Kicen. se<;t. iii. c. 5, Iso. 4. 

^i See Cu<l\vorth's Intellectual S> stem, pp. r>of), 570. This dangerous hypoth- 
e-^s was countenanced by the two Gregorics, of Kyssa and Nazianzen, by Cyril of 
Alexandria, John of Damascus, &c. See Cudworth, p. 603. Le Clerc, Biblio- 
th^que Universelle, torn, xviii. pp. 07-105. 

"^ Augustin seems to envy the freedom of Ihe Philosophers. I.ibeiis verbis 
loquunt'.ir philosophi * *■ * * Xos aulem noii dicinius duo vel tria principia, 
duos vel tres Deos. Pe Civitat. Dei, x. 2:5. 

•''•* Boe'jbius, who was deeply versed in th<! philosophv of Plato and Aristotle, 
explains tlie unity of the Trinity by Iho indijfcrmce of the three persons. See 
the judicious remarks of Pe Clerc, Bibliotheque Choisie, torn, xvi- p. 225, &c. 



220 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of names, and abstract modifications, that subsist only in 
the mind which conceives them. The Logos is no longer a 
person, but an attribute ; and it is only in a figurative sense 
that the epithet of Son can be applied to the eternal reason, 
which was with God from the beginning, and by vJiich^ not 
by v:hom^ all things were made. The incarnation of tlie 
Logos is reduced to a mere inspiration of the Divine Wis- 
dom, which filled the soul, and directed all the actions, of 
the man Jesus. Thus, after revolving round the theological 
circle, we are surprised to find that the Sabellian ends where 
the Ebionite had begun ; and that the incomprehensible 
mystery which excites our adoration, eludes our inqiiiry.''* 
If the bishops of the council of J^ice*'^ had been per- 
mitted to follow the unbiased divcates of their conscience, 
Arius and his associates could scarcely liave flattered them- 
selves with the hopes of obtaining a majority of votes, in 
favor of an hypothesis so directly adverse to the two most 
popular opinions of tlie Catholic world. The Arians soon 
perceived the danger of their situation, and prudently as- 
sumed those modest virtues, which, in the fury of civil and 
religious dissensions, are seldom practiced, or even praised, 
except by the weaker party. They recommended the exer- 
cise of Christian charity and moderation ; urged the incom- 
prehensible nature of the controversy ; disclaimed the use of 
any terms or definitions which could not be found in the 
Scriptures ; and offered, by very liberal concessions, to sat- 
isfy their adversaries without renouncing the integrity of 
their own principles. The victorious faction received all 
their proposals with haughty suspicion ; and anxiously sought 
for some irreconcilable mark of distinction, the rejection of 
which might involve the Arians in the guilt and conse- 
quences of heresy. A letter was publicly read, and igno- 
miniously torn, in which their patron, Eusebius of Nico- 
media, ingenuously confessed, that the admission of the 
no:NroousiON, or Consubstantial, a word already familiar to 
the Platonists, was incompatible with the princij^les of tlieir 

s* If the Sabellians were startled at this conclusion, they were driven down 
another precipice into the confession, that the Father was born of a virgin, that 
he had suffered on the cross ; and thus deserved the odious epithet of J'atri- 
pnsfiians, with which they were branded by their adversaries. See the invectives 
of Tertullian against Praxeas, and the temperate reflections of ]\Iosheim (pp. 
423, G81); and Beausobrc, tom. i. 1. iii. c. 6, p. 533. 

65 The transactions of the council of Nice are related by the ancients, not only 
in a partial, but in a very imperfect manner. Su( h a y)icture as Fra I'nolo would 
have drawn, can never be recovered ; but such rude sketches as have been traced 
by the pencil of bi.s^otry, and that of reason, may be seen in Tillemont (Mem. Ec- 
cles. tom. V. pp. 669-751)), and in Le Clerc (Biblioth^que Univenselle, tom. x. pp. 
435-454. 



or THE KOMAX EMPIRE. 221 

theological system. The fortunate opportunity was eagerly 
embraced by the bishops, who governed the resolutions of 
tlie synod ; and, according to the lively expression of Am- 
brose,^''' they used the sword, Avhich heresy itself had drawn 
from the scabbard, to cut off tlie head of the hated monster. 
The consubstantiality of the Father and the Son was estab- 
lished by the council of Nice, and has been unanimously re- 
ceived as a fundamental article of the Christian faith, by tlie 
consent of the Greek, the Latin, the Oriental, and the Pro- 
testant churches. But if the same word had not served to 
stigmatize the heretics and to unite the Catholics, it Avould 
have been inadequate to the purpose of the majority, by 
whom it was introduced into the orthodox creed. This 
majority was divided into two parties, distinguished by a 
contrary tendency to the sentiments of the Tritheists and 
of the Sabellians. But as those opposite extremes seemed 
to overthrow the foundations either of natural or revealed 
religion, they mutually agreed to qualify the rigor of their 
principles ; and to disavow the just, but invidious, conse- 
quences which might be urged by their antagonists. The 
interest of the common cause inclined them to join their 
numbers, and to conceal their differences; their animosity 
was softened by the healing counsels of toleration, and their 
disputes were suspended by the use of the mysterious 
Ilomoousion^ which either party was free to interpret ac- 
cording to tlieir peculiar tenets. The Sabellian sense, which, 
about fifty years before, had obliged the council of Antioch ^^ 
to prohibit this celebrated term, had endeared it to those 
theologians who entertained a secret but partial affection 
for a nominal Trinity. But the more fashionable saints of 
the Arian times, the intrepid Athanasius, the learned Gregory 
Nazianzen, and the other pillars of the church, who sup- 
ported with ability and success the Nicene doctrine, ap- 
peared to consider the expression of substance as if it had 
been synonymous with that of nature-; and they ventured 
to illustrate their meaning, by affirming that three men, as 
they belong to the same common species, are consubstantial, 
or homoousian, to each other.^^ This pure and distinct 

5<5 We are indebted to Ambrose (De Fide, 1. iii. cap. ult.) for the knowledge of 
this curious anecdote. Hoc verbuni posuerunt Palres, quod viderunt advertiariis 
esse fonnidini ; ut tanquam evaginato al) ipsis gladio, ipsum nefaiidaj caput 
Laereseos ainputarent. 

5' See Bull. Defens. Fid. Kicen. sect. ii. c. i. p. 25-3G. He thinks it his duty to 
reconcile two orthodox synod-;. 

^<* According to Aristotle, the stars were homoousian to each other. "That 
Homoousioft means of one substance in kind, hath been shown by Petavius, Cur- 
cellaius, Cudworth, Le Clerc, &c., and to prove it would be actum agere." Thi3 



222 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

equality was tempered, on tlie one hand, by tlie internal 
connection, and spiritual ])enctration which indissolubly 
unites tlie divine persons;^'-' and, on the other, by tlie pre- 
eminence of the Father, which was acknowledged as far 
as it is compatible with the independence of the Son.'^*' 
Within these limits, the almost invisible and tremulous ball 
of orthodoxy was allowed securely to vibrate. On either 
side, beyond this consecrated ground, the lieretics and the 
dnemons lurked in ambush to surprise and devour the un- 
happy wanderero But as the degrees of theological hatred 
depend on the spirit of the war, rather than on the import- 
ance of the controversy, the heretics who degi-aded, were 
treated with more severity than those who annihilated, the 
person of the Son. The life of Athanasius was consumed in 
irreconcilable opposition to the impious madness of the 
Arians ; ^^ but he defended above twenty years the Sabel- 
lianism of Marcellus of Ancyra; and when at last he was 
compelled to withdraw himself from his communion, he con- 
tinued to mention, with an ambiguous smile, the venial 
errors of his respectable friend.*^- 

The authority of a general council, to which the Arians 
themselves had been compelled to submit, inscribed on the 
banners of the orthodox party the mysterious characters of 
the word Uomoousion,, which essentially contributed, not- 
Avithstanding some obscure disputes, some nocturnal com- 
bats, to maintain and perpetuate the uniformity of faith, or 
at least of language. The Consubstantialists, who by their 
success have deserved and obtained the title of Catholics, 
gloried in the simplicity and steadiness of their own creed, 
and insulted the repeated variations of their adversaries, 
who were destitute of any certain rule of faith. The sincer- 
ity or the cunning of the Arian chiefs, the fear of the laws 
or of the people, their reverence for Christ, their liatred of 
Athanasius, all the causes, human and divine, that influence 

is the jnst remark of Dr. Jortin (vol. ii. p. 212), who examines the Arian contro- 
versy with learning, candor, and ingenuity. 

^'J See Petavius (Dogm. Theolog. torn. ii. 1. iv. o. IG, p. 453, &c.), Cudworth (p. 
559), Bull (sect. iv. pp. 285-290, edit. Grab). The 7reptx">pi90"i?, or circumuiceasio, 
is perliaps the deepest a)id darkest comer of the whol*^ tlieologital abyss. 

^'^ The third section of Bull's Defence of the Kicene Faith, wliich some of his 
antagonists have called nonsense, and others heresy, is consecrated to the 
supremacy of the Father. 

t'l The ordinary appellation with wliich Athanasius and his followers chose to 
compliment the Arians, was that of Ariomaniies. 

^- Epiphanius, torn. i. Ilajrcs. Ixxii. 4, p. 837. See the adventures of ]\Iarcel- 
lus, in Tillemont (Mem. Eccles. torn. vii. pp. 880-89it). His work, in one book, of 
the unity of God, was answere<l in the three books, which are still extant, of 
Eusebiu.s. After a long and careful examination, Petavius (torn. ii. c. 14, p. 78'> 
lias reluctantly pronounced the condemnation of Marcellus. 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 223 

and disturb the counsels of a tlieological faction, introduced 
among the sectaries a spirit of discord and inconstancy, 
which, iii the course of a few years, erected eigliteen differ- 
ent models of religion,^^ and avenged tlie violated dignity 
of the church. The zealous Hilary,'"^ Avho, from the pecu- 
liar hardships of his situation, was inclined to extenuate 
rather than to aggravate the errors of the Oriental clergy, 
declares, that in the Avide extent of the ten provinces of Asia, 
to which he had been banished, there could be found very 
few prelates who had preserved the knowledge of the true 
God.^^ The oj)j)ression which he had felt, the disorders of 
which he was the spectator and the victim, aj)peased, during 
a short interval, the angry passions of his soul ; and in tlie 
following passage, of which I shall transcribe a few lines, the 
bishop of Poitiers unwarily deviates into the style of a 
Christian idiilosupher. " It is a thing," says Hilary, " equally 
deplorable and dangerous, that there are as many creeds as 
opinions among men, as many doctrines as inclinations, and 
as many sources of blasphemy as there are faults among us ; 
because we make creeds arbitrai'ily, and explain them as ar- 
bitrarily. Tlie Ilomoousion is rejected, and received, and 
explained away by successive synods. The partial or total 
resemblance of the Father and of the Son is a subject of dis- 
pute for these unhappy times. Every year, nay, every moon 
we make new creeds to describe invisible mysteries. We 
repent of what we have done, we defend those who repent, 
we anathematize those whom we defended. We condemn 
either the docti'ine of others in ourselves, or our o\\n\ in that 
of others ; and recii)rocally tearing one another to pieces we 
have been the cause of each other's ruin." ^'^ 

It will not be expected, it would not perhaps be endured, 
that I, should sv/ell this theological digression, by a minute 
examination of the eighteen creeds, the authors of which, 

•^ AUiaiiasitis, in his epistle concerning the Synods of Selcucia and Rimini (torn. 
i. pp. 8!SG-905). lias given an ample list of Arian creeds which l-as been enlargi d 
and improved by the labors of the indefatigable Tillemont (Mem. Kccles. torn. 
vi. p. 477). 

^ Erasmus, with admirable sense and freedom, has delineated the just char- 
acter of Hilary. To revise his text, to compose the annuls of his life, and to 
justify his sentimonts and conduct, is the province of the Benedictine editois. 

'^•> Absque episcopo Elcusio et paucis cum eo, ex niajore parte Asiana; decern 
provincial, inter quasconsisto, vere J)eum nesciunt. Atque utinam penitus nes- 
cirent ! cum procliviore enim vejiia ignoraient quam obtrectarent. Hilar.de 
Synodis, sive «ie Fide Orientalium, c. C;J, p. 1 18G, edit. Benedict. In the cele- 
brated parallel between atheism and superstition, the bishoj) of Poitiers would 
have been surprised in the philosophic society of Bayle and I'lutarch. 

<^ llilarius ad Constantium, 1. i. c. 4, 5, pp. 1227, 122S. This remarkable passage 
deserved the attention of Mr. Locke, who has transcribed it (vol. iii. p. 470; into 
the model of his new commonplace book. 



224 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

for tlie most part, disclaimed the odious name of their parent 
Arius. It is amusing enough to delineate the form, and to 
trace the vegetation, of a single jilant ; but the tedious de- 
tail of leaves without flowers, and of branches without fruit, 
would soon exhaust the patience, and disappoint the curiosity 
of the laborious student. One question, which gi-adually 
arose from the Arian controversy, may, however, be noticed, 
as it served to produce and discriminate the three sects, who 
were united only by their common aversion to the Plomoou- 
sion of the Nicene synod. 1. If they were asked whether 
the Son was like unto the Father, the question was resolutely 
answered in the negative, by the heretics who adhered to 
the principles of Arius, or indeed to those of philosophy ; 
which seem to establish an infinite difference between the 
Creator and the most excellent of his creatures. This ob- 
vious consequence was maintained byAetius,^^ on whom the 
zeal of his adversaries bestowed the surname of the Atheist. 
His restless and aspiringspirit urged him to try almost every 
profession of human life. He was successively a slave, or at 
least a husbandman, a travelling tinker, a goldsmith, a phy- 
sician, a schoolmaster, a theologian, and at last the apostle 
of a new church, which was pi-opagated by the abilities of 
his disciple Eunomius.^^ Armed with texts of Scripture, and 
with captious syllogisms from the logic of Aristotle, the sub- 
tle Aetius had acquired the fame of an invincible disputant, 
whom it was impossible either to silence or to convince. 
Such talents engaged the friendship of the Arian bishops, 
till they were forced to renounce, and even to persecute, a 
dangerous ally, who, by the accuracy of his reasoning, had 
prejudiced their cause in the ])opular opinion, and offended 
the piety of their most devoted followers. 2. The omnipo- 
tence of the Creator suggested a specious and resi^ectful so- 
lution of the likeness of the Father and the Son ; and faith 
might humbly receive what reason could not presume to deny, 
that the Supreme God might communicate his infinite per- 
fections, and create a being similar only to himself.^^ These 

w In Philostorgius (1. iii. c. 15) the character and adventiues of Aetius appear 
singular enough, though they are carefully softened by the hand of a friend. 
The editor, Godefroy (p. 15o), who was more attached to liis principles than to 
his author, has collected the odious circumstances which his various adversaries 
have preserved or invented. 

C8 According to the judgment of a man who respected both these sectaries, 
Aetius had been endowed with a stronger understanding, and Eunomius liad 
acquired more art and learning. (Philostorgius, 1. viii. c. 18). The confession and 
apology of Eunomius (Fabricius, Bibliot. Griec. torn. viii. pp. 258-305) is one of 
the few heretical pieces which liave escaped. 

'^'■' Yet, according to the opinion of Estius and Bull (p. 297), there is one power 
— that of creation — which God cannot communicate to a creature. Estius, who 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 225 

Arians were powerfully supported by the weight and abili- 
ties of their leaders, who had succeeded to the management 
of the Eusebian interest, and who occupied the principal 
thrones of the East. They detested, perhaps with some af- 
fectation, the impiety of Aetius ; they professed to believe, 
either without reserve, or according to the Scriptures, that 
the Son was different from all other creatures, and similar 
only to the Father. But they denied, that he was either of 
the same, or of a similar substance ; sometimes boldly justi- 
fying their dissent, and sometimes objecting to the use of the 
word substance, which seems to imply an adequate, or at 
least a distinct notion of the nature of the Deity. 3. The 
sect which asserted the doctrine of a similar substance, was 
the most numerous, at least in the provinces of Asia ; and 
when the leaders of both parties were assembled in the coun- 
cil of Seleucia,"^*^ their opinion would have prevailed by a 
majority of one hundred and five to forty-three bishops. 
The Greek word, which was chosen to express this myste- 
rious resemblance, bears so close an affinity to the orthodox 
symbol, that the profane of every age have derided the furi- 
ous contests which the difference of a single diphthong ex- 
cited between the Homoousians and the Ilomoiousians. As 
it frequently happens, that the sounds and characters which 
approach the nearest to each other accidentally represent the 
most opposite ideas, the observation would be itself ridicu- 
lous, if it were possible to mark any real and sensible dis- 
tinction between the doctrine of the Semi-Arians, as they 
were improperly styled, and that of the Catholics themselves. 
The bishop of Poitiers, who in his Phrygian exile very wisely 
aimed at a coalition of parties, endea^-ors to prove that, 
by a pious and faithful interpretation,'^ the Ilonioiousiort 
may be reduced to a consubstantial sense. Yet he confesses 
that the word has a dark and suspicious aspect ; and, as if 
darkness were congenial to theological disputes, the Semi- 
Arians, who advanced to the doors of the church, assailed 
them with the most unrelenting fury. 

go accurately defined the limits of Omnipotence, was a Dutchman by birth, and 
by trade a scholastic divine. Dupin, Bibliot. Eccles. turn. xvii. p. 45. 

'" Sabinus ap. Sociat. (1. ii. c. o9) had copied the acts : Atlianasius and Hilary 
have explained the divisions of this Arian synod ; the otlier circumstances 
which are relative to it are carefully collected by Baronius ana Tillemont. 

Ji Fideli et pia intelligentia. * * * De Synod, c 77, p. 1193. In his short apol- 
ogetical notes (first pabtished by the Benedictines from a MS- of Chartres) he 
observes, that he used this cautious expression, qui-intelligerum et iiupiam. p. 
1206. See p. 1I4G. Philostorgius, who saw those objects tbrnucb a different me- 
dium, is inclined to forget.the difference of the importauL diphthong. See.in par- 
ticular viii. 17, and Godefroy, p. 352. 

Vol. II.— 15 



226 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Tlie j3rovinces of Egypt and Asia, wliich cultivated the 
language and manners of tlie Greeks, liad deeply imbibed 
the venom of the Arian controversy. The familiar study of 
the Platonic system, a vain and argumentative disposition, 
a copious and flexible idiom, supj)lied the clergy and people 
of the East with an inexhaustible flow of words and dis- 
tinctions ; and, in the midst of their fierce contentions, they 
easily forgot the doubt which is recommended by philosophy, 
and the submission which is enjoined by religion. The in- 
habitants of the West were of a less inquisitive spirit ; their 
passions were not so forcibly moved by invisible objects, 
their minds were less frequently exercised by the habits of 
dispute ; and such was the happy ignorance of the Galilean 
church, that Hilary himself, above thirty years after the 
first general council, was still a stranger to the Nicene 
creed.'^'^ The Latins had received the rays of divine knowl- 
edge through the dark and doubtful medium of a transla- 
tion. The poverty and stubbornness of their native tongue 
was not always capable of affording just equivalents for the 
Greek terms, for the technical words of the Platonic philos- 
ophy,"^ which had been consecrated, by the gospel or by 
the church, to express the mysteries of the Christian faith ; 
and a vei-bal defect might introduce into the Latin theology 
a long train of error or perplexity."* But as the western 
provincials had the good fortune of deriving their religion 
from an orthodox source they jjreserved Avith steadiness the 
doctrine which they had accepted with docility ; and when 
the Arian pestilence approached their frontiers, they were 
supplied with the seasonable preserAative of the Ilomoou- 
sion, by the paternal care of the Poman pontiff. Their 
sentiments and their temper were displayed in the memor- 
able synod of Pimini, which surpassed in numbers the 
council of Nice, since it was composed of above four hundred 
bishoj)s of Italy, Africa, Spain, Gaul, Britain, and Illyricum. 
From the first debates it appeared, that only fourscore pre- 
lates adhered to the party, though thei/ aft'ected to anathe- 

'2 Tester Deiim coeli atque terrjB me cum iieutruir amlissem, semper tamen 
utrunuiue sensisse, * * * Kegeneratus pridein et in episoopiitu aliciuantisper 
manens tidem Nicenam iiunquam nisi exsulaturus autlivi. Hilar de Synodis. o. 
xci. p. 1205. The Benedictines are persuaded tliat he governed the diocese of Poi- 
tiers several years before liis exile. 

'•■^ Seneia (Epist. Iviii.) complains that even the to w of the Platonists (the ens 
Qt the bolder schoolmen) could not be expressed by a Latin noun. 

1* 'fhe preference which the fourtli council of the Lateran at length gave to 
a numerical rather than a generlcal unity (see Petav. torn. ii. 1. iv. c. lo, p. 424) 
was favored \>y the L^pii^ Ijj^^guage ; rptas seems to excite the idea of substance, 
trinitas of qujaliUes." w . 



OF xilE ROMAX EMPIRE. 227 

matize the name and memory, of Arius. But this inferior- 
ity was compensated by the advantages of skill, of experi- 
ence, and of discipline ; and the minority was conducted by 
Valens and ITrsacius, two bishops of lllyricum, who had 
spent their lives in the intrigues of courts and councils, and 
who had been trained under the Eusebian banner in the 
religious wars of the East. By their arguments and nego- 
tiations, they embarrassed, they confounded, they at last 
deceived, the honest simplicity of the Latin bishops ; who 
suffered the palladium of the faith to be extorted from their 
hands by fraud and importunity, rather than by open 
violence. The council of Rimini was not allowed to sepa- 
rate, till the members had imj^rudently subscribed a captious 
creed, in Avhich some expressions, si;sce])tible of an hereticnl 
sense, were inserted in the room of the Ilomoousion. It was 
on this occasion, that, according to Jerom, the world was 
surprised to find itself Arian."^ But the bishops of the 
Latin provinces had no sooner reached their respective 
dioceses, than they discovered their mistake, and repented 
of their weakness. The ignominious capitulation was re- 
jected with disdain and abhoirence ; and the llomoousian 
standard, which had been shaken but not overtlirown, was 
more firmly rej^lanted in all the churches of the West.'° 

Such was the rise and progress, and such were the 
natural revolutions of those theological disputes, which dis- 
turbed the ])eace of Christianity under the reigns of Con- 
stantine and of his sons. But as those princes presumed to 
extend their despotism over the faith, as well as over the 
lives and fortunes, of their subjects, the weight of their 
suffrage sometimes inclined the ecclesiastical balance : and 
the prerogatives of the King of Heaven were settled, or 
changed, or modified, in the cabinet of an earthly monarch. 
" Tiie unhappy spirit of discord which pervaded the prov- 
inces of the East, interrupted the triumph of Constantine ; 
but the emperor continued for some time to view, Avith cool 
and careless indifference, the object of the dispute. As he 
Avas yet ignorant of the difficulty of appeasing the quarrels 
of theologians, he addressed to the contending parties, to 
Alexander and to Arius, a moderating epistle ; '^^ which may 

'>> Ingenuiit totus orbis et Arianum se esse iniratus est. Ilieronym. adv. Lu- 
cifer, lorn. i. p. 11"). 

"' The story of the council of Rimini is very elegantly told by Sulpicius Sev- 
eru3 (Hist. Sacra, 1. ii..pp. 419-430, edit. Lugd. Bat. 1C47), and by Jeroni, in Ills di- 
alogue against tlie Luciferians. The design of tiie bitter is to apologize for the 
contluct of the Latin bishops, who were deceived, and who repeiited. 

'^ Eusebius, in Vit. Constant. 1. ii. c. G4-72. The principles of toleration and 



228 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

be ascribed, with far greater reason, to the untutored sense 
of a sohlier and statesman, than to the dictates of any of liis 
episcopal counsellors. He attributes the origin of the whole 
controversy to a trifling and subtle question, concerning an 
incomprehensible point of the law, which was foolishly asked 
by the bishop, and imprudently resolved by the presbyter. 
He laments that the Christian people, who had the same 
God, the same religion, and the same worshi)^ should be 
divided by such inconsiderable distinctions ; and he seriously 
recommends to the clergy of Alexandria the example of the 
Greek ])hilosophers ; who could maintain their arguments 
without losing their temper, and assert their freedom with- 
out violating their friendship. The indifference and con- 
tempt of the sovereign would have been, perhaps, the most 
effectual method of silencing the dispute, if the popular cur- 
rent had been less rapid and impetuous, and if Constantine 
himself, in the midst of faction and fanaticism, could have pre- 
served the calm possession of his own mind. But his ecclesias- 
tical ministers soon contrived to seduce the impartiality of 
the magistrate, and to awaken the zeal of the proselyte. He 
was provoked by the insults which had been offered to his 
statues ; he was alarmed by the real, as well as the imagin- 
ary magnitude of the spreading mischief ; and he extin- 
guished the hope of peace and toleration, from the moment 
that he assembled three hundred bishops within the walls of 
the same palace. The presence of the monarch swelled the 
importance of the debate; his attention multiplied the argu- 
ments ; and he exposed his person with a patient intrepidity, 
which animated the valor of the combatants. Notwith- 
standing the ajiplause which has been bestowed on the 
eloquence and sagacity of Constantine,"^^ a Roman general, 
whose religion might be still a subject of doubt, and whose 
mind had not been enlightened either by study or by in- 
spiration, was indifferently qualified to discuss, in the Greek 
language, a metaphysi(!al question, or an article of faith. 
But the credit of his favorite Osius, who appears to have 
presided in the council of Nice, might dispose the emperor 

religious indifference, contained in this epistle, have given great offence to Bar- 
ouius, Tilleniont, &c., who suppose tliat the emperor liad some evil counsellor, 
either Satan or Eusebius at his elbow. Se(^ »Tortin's Kemarks, torn. ii. p. 183.* 
" Eusebius in Vit. Constantin. 1. iii. c. 13. 



* Heiuichen (Excursus xi.) quotes with approbation the term " golden words." 
applied by Ziegler to this moderate and tolerant letter o'f Constantine. May an 
English clergyman venture to express his regret, that " the tine gold so soon be- 
came dim " in the Christian church ?— M. 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. 229 

in favor of the orthodox party ; and a well-timed insinua- 
tion, that the same Eusebius of Nicomedia, who now pro- 
tected tlie lieretic, had lately assisted tlie tyrant,'^ might 
exas])erate him against their adversaries. The Kicene 
creed was ratified by Constantine ; and his firm declaration, 
that those who resisted the divine judgment of the synod, 
must prepare themselves for an immediate exile, annihilated 
the murmurs of a feeble opposition ; which, from seventeen, 
was almost instantly reduced to two, protesting bishops. 
Eusebius of Caesarea yielded a reluctant and ambiguous 
consent to the Ilomoousion ; ^^ and the wavering conduct 
of the Nicomedian Eusebius served only to delay, about 
three months, his disgrace and exile.^^ The impious Arius 
was banished into one of the remote provinces of Illyricum : 
his person and disciples were branded, by law, witli the 
odious name of Porphyrians ; his writings Avere condemned 
to the flames, and a capital punishment was denounced 
against those in whose possession they should be found. 
The emperor had now imbibed the spirit of controversy, 
and the angry, sarcastic style of his edicts was designed to 
inspire his subjects with the hatred which he had conceived 
aofainst the enemies of Christ. ^^ 

But, as if the conduct of the emperor had been guided 
by passion instead of j)rinciple, three years from the council 
of Nice were scarcely elapsed before he discovered some 
symptoms of mercy, and even of indulgence, towards the 
])roscribed sect, whicli was secretly protected by his favorite 
sister. The exiles were recalled : and Eusebius, who gradu- 
ally resumed his influence over the mind of Constantine, 
was restored to the episcopal throne, from which he had 
been ignominiously degraded. Arius himself was treated 
by the whole court with the respect Avhich would have been 
due to an innocent and o])pressed man. His faith was ap- 
proved by the synod of Jerusalem ; and the emperor seemed 

75> Tlieodoret has preserved (1. i. c. 20) an epistle from Constavitine to the peo- 
ple of Nicomedia, in which the monarch declares himself the puUlic accuser of 
one of his subjects ; he styles J^usebius 6 rrj? Tvpai'i/r^*;? <^Mot>jto? ov/u,ju.ucrTi75, and 
complains of his hostile behavior durin/!: the civil war. 

^' See in S<icrates (1. i. c. 8), or rather in Tlieodoret (1. i. c. 12), an original letter 
of Eusebi s of Capsarea, in which ho attempts to justify his subscribinfj the 
Ilomoousion. The character of Eusebius has ahvays been a problem ; but those 
who have read ;he second critical ep'stle of Le Clerc (Ars Critica, torn. iii. pp. 80- 
6!)), must entertain a very unfavorable opinion of the orthodoxy and sincerity of 
the bishop of f^resarea. 

81 Athanasius, torn. i. p, 727. Phllostorgius, 1, i. c. 10, and Godefroy's Com- 
mentary, p. 41. 

^- Socrates, 1. i. c 9. In his circular letters, which were addressed to the sev- 
eral cities, Constantine employed against the heretics the arms of ridicule and 
comic raillery. 



230 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

impatient to repair liis injustice, by issuing an absolute com- 
jnnnd, that lie should be solemnly admitted to the commu- 
nion in the cathedral of Constantinople. On the same day, 
which had been fixed for the triumph of Arius, lie expired; 
and the strange and horrid circumstances of his (k\'Uh might 
excite a suspicion, that the orthodox saints had contributed 
more efficaciously than by their prayers, to deliver the 
church from the most formidable of her enemies.^^ The 
three principal leaders of the Catholics, Athanasius of Alex- 
andria, Eustathius of Antioch, and Paul of Constantinople, 
were deposed on various accusations by the sentence of nu- 
merous councils; and were afterwards banished into distant 
provinces by the first of the Christian emperors, who, in the 
last moments of his life, received the rites of baptism from 
the Arian bishop of Nicoraedia. The ecclesiastical govern- 
ment of Constantme cannot be justified froni the reproach 
of levity and weakness. But the credulous monarch, un- 
skilled in the stratagems of theological warfare, might be 
deceived by the modest and specious professions of the 
heretics, whose sentiments he never perfectly understood : 
and while he protected Arius, and persecuted Athanasius, 
he still considered the council of Nice as the bulwark of the 
Christian faith, and the peculiar glory of his own reign. ^^ 

The sons of Constantino must have been admitted from 
their childhood into the rank of catechumens ; but they imi- 
tated, in the delay of their baptism, the example of their 
father. Like him, they presumed to pronounce their judg- 
ment on mysteries into which they had never been regularly 
initiated ; ^^ and the fate of the Trinitarian controversy de- 
pended, in a great measure, on the sentiments of Constantius ; 
who inherited the provinces of the East, and acquired the 
possession of the whole empire. The Arian presbyter or 
bishop, who had secreted for his use the testament of the 
deceased emperor, improved the fortunate occasion which 

83 We derive tlie original story from Athanasius (torn. i. p. G70), who expresses 
some reluctance to stigmatize the memory of the dead. He might exaggerate ; 
but the perpetual conimerce of Alexandria and Constantinople would have ! en- 
dered it dangerous to invent. Those who press the literal narrative of the deatli 
of Arius (Iiis bowels suddenly burst out in a privy) must make their option be- 
tween poison and miracle. 

8* Tlie change in the sentiments, or at least in the conduct, of Constantine. 
may be traced in Eusebius (in Vit. Constant. 1. iii. c, 23, 1. iv. c. 41\ Socrates (1. i. 
c. 2.3-39), Sozomen (1. ii. c. 16-34>, Theodoret (l.i. c. 14-34), and Philostorgius (1. ii. 
c. 1-17). But tin first of these writers was too near the scene of action, and the 
others were too remote from it. it is singular enough, that the important task of 
continuing the history of the church should have been left for two laymen and a 
heretic. 

8-'' Quia etiam turn catechumenus sacramentum fidei merito videretur potuisse 
wescire. Sulp. Sever. Hist. Sacra. 1. ii. p. 410. 



OF THE ROMAX EMPIRE. 231 

had introduced him to tlio familiarity of a prince, whose 
public counsels were always swayed by his domestic favor- 
ites. The eunuchs and slaves diffused the spiritual poison 
through the palace, and the dangerous infection was com- 
municated by the female attendants to the guards, and by 
the em])ress to her unsuspicious husband.^^ The partiality 
which Constantius always expressed towards the Eusebian 
faction, was insensibly fortified by the dexterous manage- 
ment of their leaders ; and his victory over the tyrant 
Magnentius increased his inclination, as well as ability, 
to employ the arms of power in the cause of Arianism. 
While the two armies were engaged in the plains of Mursa, 
and the fate of the two rivals depended on the chance of 
war, the son of Constantine passed the anxious moments in 
a church of the martyrs, under the walls of the city. His 
spiritual comforter, Valens, the Arian bishop of the diocese, 
employed the most artful precautions to obtain such early 
intelligence as might secure either his favor or his escape.- 
A secret chain of swift and trusty messengers informed him 
of the vicissitudes of the battle ; and while the courtiers 
stood trembling round their affrighted master, Valens as- 
sured liim that the Gallic legions gave way ; and insinuated 
with some presence of mind, that the glorious event had 
been revealed to him by an angel. The grateful emperor 
ascribed his success to the merits and intercession of the 
bishop of Mursa, whose faith had deserved the public and 
miraculous approbation of Heaven." The Arians, who con- 
sidered as their own the victory of Constantius, preferred 
his glory to that of his father.^^ Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem, 
immediately composed the description of a celestial cross, 
encircled with a splendid rainbow ; which during the festival 
of Pentecost, about the third hour of the day, had appeared 
over the Mount of Olives, to the edification of the devout 
2:>ilgrims, and the people of the holy city.®^ The size of the 

8<5 Socrates, 1. ii. c. 2. Sozomen, 1. iii. c. 18. Athanas, torn. i. pp. 813, 834. He 
observes that the eunuclis are the natural enemies of Die Son. Compare Dr. 
Jortin's Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, vol. iv. p. 3, with a certain genealogy 
in Candide (ch. iv.), which ends with one of the first companions of Christopher 
Co!umb:i8. 

87 Sulpicius Severua in Hist. Sacra, 1. ii. pp. 405, 406. 

88 Cyril (apud Baron. A. D. 353, No. 26) expressly observes that in the reign of 
Constantine, the cross had been found in the bowels of tlje earth ; but that ithad 
appeared, in the reign of Constantius, in the midst of the heavens. 'J'his opposi- 
tion evidently proves, that Cyril was ignorant of the stupendous miracle to which 
the conversion of Constantine is attributed ; and this ignorance is the more sur- 
prising, since it was no more than twelve years after liis death that Cyril was con- 
secrated bishop of Jerusalem, by the immediate successor of Eusebius of Csesarea. 
Sec Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. viii. p. 715. 

t*^ It is not easy to determine liow far th(; ingenuity of Cyril might be assisted 
by GcJtne natural appearances of a solar halo. 



232 THE DECI.INK AND FALL 

meteor was gradually magnified ; and tlie Arian Iiistorian 
has ventured to affirm, that it was conspicuous to the two 
armies in the plains of Pannonia; and that the tyrant, who 
is purposely represented as an idolater, fled before the 
auspicious sign of orthodox Christianity.^*^ 

Tlie sentiments of a judicious stranger, who has impar- 
tially considered the progress of civil or ecclesiastical dis- 
cord, are always entitled to our notice ; and a short passage 
of Ammianus, who served in the armies, and studied the 
character of Constantius, is perhaps of more value than 
many pages of theological invectives. "The Christian 
religion, which, in itself," says that moderate historian, "is 
plain and simple, he confounded by the dotage of superstition. 
Instead of reconciling the parties by the weight of his au- 
thority, he cherished and propagated, by verbal disputes, the 
differences which his vain curiositv had excited. The hisrh- 
ways were covered with troops of bishops galloj^ing from 
every side to the assemblies, which they call synods ; and 
while they labored to reduce the whole sect to their own 
particular opinions, the public establishment of the posts was 
almost ruined by their hasty and repeated journeys." ^^ Our 
more intimate knowledo-e of the ecclesiastical transactions 
of the reign of Constantius would furnish an ample com- 
mentary on this remarkable passage ; which justifies the 
rational apprehensions of Athanasius, that the restless ac- 
tivity of the clerg}', who wandered round the empire in 
search of the true faith, would excite the contempt and 
laughter of the unbelieving world. ^- As soon as the em- 
peror was relieved from the terrors of the civil war, he 
devoted the leisure of his winter quarters at Aries, Milan, 
Sirmium, and Constantinople, to the amusement or toils of 
controversy : the sword of the magistrate, and even of the 
tyrant, Avas unsheathed, to enforce the reasons of the theo- 
logian ; and as he opposed the orthodox faith of Xice, it is 
readily confessed that his incapacity and ignorance were 
equal to his presumption.®^ The eunuchs, the women, and 

5" Pliilostorgius, 1. iii. c. 2G. He is followed by the author of the Alexandrian 
Chroniclv', by Cedienus, and hj' Nicephorus. (See Goiliofred. Dissert. p. 188). 
They could not refuse a miiaele, even from the hand of an enemy. 

'■•1 So curious ;i passage well deserves to be transcribed, t'hristianam religio- 
nem absolutam eL simplicem, anili superstitionc confundens ; in qua scrutanda 
perplexius, quam coinponend.^ graviusexcitaret discidia plurima : qu;e progressa 
fusius aluit concertalione verhorum. ut catervisantistium jumentis publicis ultro 
citroque discurreniibus, per synotlos (quas appellant) dnm ritum omnem ad 
suum trahere conantur (Valesius reads co?ja/?»-) rei velii<'nlarise oonsideret ner- 
Yos. Ammianus, xxxi. 16. p-j Athanas. torn. i. p. 870. 

»3 Socrates, 1. ii. c. 35-47. Sozomen, 1. iv. c. 12-30. Theodoret, 1. ii. c. 18-32. 
Philostorg. 1. iv. c. 4-12, 1. v. c. 1-1, 1. vi. c. 1-5. 



OF THE ROMAX EMPIRE. 233 

the bishops, who governed the vain and feeble mind of tlie 
emperor, liad inspired him with an insuperable dislike to the 
Homoousion ; but his timid conscience was alarmed by the 
impiety of Aetius. The guilt of that atheist Avas aggravated 
by the suspicious favor of the unfortunate Gallus ; and even 
the deaths of the Imperial ministers, who had been mas- 
sacred at Antioch, wei-e imputed to the suggestions of that 
dangerous sophist. The mind of Constantius, which could 
neither be moderated by reason, nor fixed by faith, was 
blindly impelled to either side of the dark and empty abyss, 
by his horror of the opposite extreme; he alternately em- 
braced and condemned the sentiments, he successively 
banished and recalled the leaders, of the Arian and Semi- 
Arian factions.^* During the season of public business or 
festivity, he employed whole days, and even nights, in se- 
lecting the words, and Aveighing the syllables, which com- 
posed his fluctuating creeds. The subject of his meditations 
still pursued and occupied his slumbers : the incoherent 
dreams of the emperor were received as celestial visions, 
and he accepted with complacency the lofty title of bishop 
of bishops, from those ecclesiastics who forgot the interest 
of their order for the gratification of their passions. The 
design of establishing a uniformity of doctrine, which had 
engaged him to convene so many synods in Gaul, Italy, 
Illyricum, and Asia, was repeatedly baffled by his own 
levity, by the divisions of the Arians, and by the resistance 
of the Catholics ; and he resolved, as the last and decisive 
effort, imperiously to dictate the decrees of a general coun- 
cil. The destructive earthquake of Nicomedia, the difficulty 
of finding a convenient place, and perhaps some secret mo- 
tives of policy, produced an alteration in the summons. The 
bishops of the East were directed to meet at Seleucia, in 
Isauria ; while those of the West held their deliberations at 
Rimini, on the coast of the Hadriatic; and instead of two- 
or three deputies from each province, the whole episcoj^al 
body was ordered to march. The Eastern council, after 
consuming four days in fierce and unavailing debate, sepa- 
rated without any definitive conclusion. The council of the 
West was j^rotracted till the seventh month. Taurus, the 




Deum deli^iqueutibus." 



234 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

* 

Praetorian pracfect, -was instructed not to dismiss the prelates 
till they should all be united in the same oj)inion; and his 
efforts were sii])ported by the power of banishing fifteen of 
the most refractory, and a promise of the consulship if lie 
achieved so difficult an adventure. His prayers and threats, 
the authority of tlie sovereign, the sophistry of Valens and 
XJrsacius, tlie distress of cold and hunger, and the tedious 
melancholy of a hopeless exile, at length extorted the reluc- 
tant consent of the bishops of Rimini. The deputies of the 
East and of the West attended the emperor in the palace of 
Constantinople, and he enjoyed the satisfaction of imposing 
on the world a profession of faith which established the 
I'leness^ without expressing the consuhstantiaUty^ of the 
Sou of God."^ But the triumph of Arianism had been pre- 
ceded by the removal of the orthodox clergy, whom it was 
impossible cilher to intimidate or to corrupt; and the reign 
of Constantius ^vas disgraced by the unjust and ineffectual 
persecution of the great Athanasius. 

We have seldom an opportunity of observing, either in 
active or speculative life, vrhat effect may be produced, or 
what obstacles may be surmounted, by the force of a single 
mind, when it is inflexibly applied to the pursuit of a single 
object. The immortal name of Athanasius ^^ will never be 
separated from the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity, to w^hose 
defence he consecrated every moment and every faculty of 
his being. Educated in the family of .\lexand*^r, he had 
vigorously opposed the early progress of the Arian heresy : 
he exercised the important functions of secretary unTer t'le 
aged prelate ; and tiie fathers of the Xicene council beheld 
with surprise nnd respect the rising virtues of the young 
deacon. In a time of public danger, the dull claims of age 
and of rank are sometimes superseded ; and w^ithin five 
months after his return from Iv^ice, the deacon Athanasius 
"was seated on the archiepiscopal tUrone of Egypt. He filled 
thnt eminent station above forty-six years, and his long ad- 
ministration was spent in a perpetual combat against the 

^ Sulp. Sever. Hist. Sacra, 1. ii. pp. 418-430. The Greek historians were very 
ignorant of the affairs of the "West. 

% We may regret that Gregory Nazianzen composed a panegyric instead of a 
life of Athanasius; but we should enjoy and improve the advantage oi drawing 
our most authentic materials from the rich fund of his own epistle;? and jqiolo- 
gies (tom. i. pp. 670-!)51). 1 s-hall not imitate the example of S<>ciaies(l. ii. c 1), 
■who published the first edition of his history without givinu' hmsclf the trouble 
to consult the writings of Athanasius. Yet even Socrntes, ihe more curious 
Sozomen, and the learned Theodoret, connect the life of Athanasius with the 
series of ecclesiastical history. The diligence of Tillemont (torn, viii."), and of 
the Benedictine editors, has collected every fact and examined every^fficulty. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 235 

powers of Arianism. Five times was Athanasius expelled 
from bis throne ; twenty years he passed as an exile or a 
fugitive ; and almost every province of the Roman empire 
was successively witness to his mei-it, and his sufferings in 
the cause of the Ilomoousion, which he considered as the 
sole pleasure and business, as the duty, and as the glory of 
his life. Amidst the storms of persecution, the Archbishop of 
Alexandria was patient of labor, jealous of fame, careless of 
safety ; and although his mind was tainted by the contagion 
of fanaticism, Athanasius displayed a superiority of char- 
acter and abilities, which would have qualified him, far better 
than the degenerate sons of Constantine, for the government 
of a great monarchy. His learning was much less profound 
and extensive than that of Eusebius of Cssarea, and his rude 
eloquence could not be compared with the polished oratory 
of Gregory of Basil ; but Avhenever the primate of Egypt 
was called upon to justify his sentiments, or his conduct, liis 
unpremeditated style, either of speaking or writing, was 
clear, forcible, and persuasive. He has always been revered, 
in the orthodox school, as one of the most accurate masters 
of the Christian theology ; and he was supposed to possess 
two profane sciences, less adapted to the episcopal character, 
the knowledge of jurisprudence,^^ and that of divination.^^ 
Some fortunate conjectures of future events, which impartial 
reasoners might ascribe to the experience and judgment of 
Athanasius, were attributed by his friends to heavenly in- 
spiration, and imputed by his enemies to infernal magic. 

But as Athanasius was continually engaged with the pre- 
judices and passions of every order of men, from the monk 
to the emperor, the knowledge of human nature was his first 
and most important science. He preserved a distinct and 
unbroken view of a scene which w^as incessantly shifting ; 
and never failed to improve those decisive moments wdiich 
are irrecoverably past before they are perceived by a common 
eye. The archbishop of Alexandria was capable of distin- 
guishing how far he might boldly command, and where he 
must dexterously insinuate ; how long he might contend witli 
power, and when he must withdraw from persecution ; and 

^ Sulpicius Severus (Hist. Sacra, i. ii. p. 306) calls him a lawyer, a juriscon- 
sult. Tliis character cannot now be discovered either in the life or writings of 
Athanasius. 

'•'<* Dicebatur enim fatidicarum sortium fidem, qureve augurales portenderent 
alites scientissime callens aliquoties prasdixisse futura. Ammlanus, xv. 7. A 
prophecy, or rather a joke, is related by Sozomen (1. iv. c. 10), which evidently 
proves (if the crows speak Latin) that Athanasius understood the language of 
the crows. 



236 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

while be directed the tlmnders of tlie cluirch against heresy 
and rebellion, he could assume, in the bosom of his own party, 
the flexible and indulgent temper of a ])rudent leader. The 
election of Athanasius has not escaped the reproach of irregu- 
larity and precipitation ;^^ but the i)ropriety of his behavior 
conciliated the affections both of the clergy and of the people. 
The Alexandrians were impatient to rise in arms for the de- 
fence of an eloquent and liberal pastor. In his distress he 
always derived support, or at least consolation, from the 
faithful attachment of his parochial clergy ; and the hundred 
bishops of Egypt adhered, with unshaken zeal, to the cause 
of Athanasius. In the modest equipage which pride and 
policy would affect, he frequently performed the episcopal 
visitation of his provinces, from the mouth of the Xile to 
the confines of Ethiopia ; familiarly conversing with the 
meanest of the populace, and humbly saluting the saints and 
hermits of the desert.^^^ Nor was it only in ecclesiastical 
assemblies, among men whose education and manners were 
similar to his own, that Athanasius displayed the ascendency 
of his genius. He appeared with easy and respectful firm- 
ness in the courts of princes ; and in the various turns of his 
prosperous and adverse fortune he never lost the confidence 
of his friends, or the esteem of his enemies. 

In his youth, the primate of Egypt resisted the great 
Constantine, who had repeatedly signified his will, that Arius 
should be restored to the Catholic communion.^°^ The em- 
peror respected, and might forgive, this inflexible resolution, 
and the faction who considered Athanasius as their most for- 
midable enemy, were constrained to dissemble their hatred, 
and silently to prepare an indirect and distant assault. They 
scattered rumors and suspicions, represented the archbishop 
as a proud and oppressive tyrant, and boldly accused liim of 
violating the treaty which had been ratified in the Nicene 

09 The irregular onlination of Athanasius was slightly mentioned in the coun- 
cils which were held agjiiiist liim. See Philostorg. 1. ii. c- 11, and Godefroy, p. 
71 ; but it can scarcely be supposed that the assembly of the bishops of Egypt 
would solemnly attest a, public falst^hood. Athanas. torn, i, p. 72G. 

1^' See the liistoiies of the Fathers of the Desert, published by Roswcide ; 
and Tillcmont, iNleni. Eccles. ton». viL, in the lives of Antony. Pachomiup, &c. 
Athanasius himself, who did not disdain to compose the life of his fiieiid An- 
tony, has carefully observed how often the holy monk deplored and prophesied 
the mischiefs of the Arian heresy. Athanas, tom. ii. pp. 49J. 49S. <S;c. 

^^^ At first Constantine threatened in .sjxnhinfi, but requested in writing, koL 
a\p(x<f)<a<; fx-ev r/TreiAei, vpacfxi)^ 8e, >;^iot;. His letters gradually assumed a menacing 
tone; but while he required that the entrance of the church shotild be open to 
rt//, he avoi<led the odious name of Arius. Athanasius, like a skilful politician, 
has accurately marked these distinctious (torn. i. p. 768), which allowed him some 
scope for excuse and delay. 



OF THE ROM AX EMPIRE. 237 

council, with the schismatic followers of Meletius/**^ Atha- 
nasius had openly disapproved that ignominious peace, and 
the emperor was disposed to believe that he had abused his 
ecclesiastical and civil power, to persecute those odious sec- 
taries ; that he had sacrilegiously broken a chalice in one of 
their churches of Mareotis ; tliat he had whipped or impris- 
oned six of their bishops ; and that Arsenius, a seventh 
bishop of the same party, had been murdered, or at least, 
mutilated, by the cruel hand of the primate. ^*^^ These charges, 
which affected his honor and his life, were referred by Con- 
stantine to his brother Dalmatius tlie censor, who resided at 
Antioch ; the synods of Caesarea and Tyre were successively 
convened ; and the bishops of the East were instructed to 
judge the cause of Athanasius, before tliey proceeded to con- 
secrate the new church of the Resurrection at Jerusalem. 
The primate miglit be conscious of his innocence ; but he 
was sensible that tlie same implacable spirit which had dic- 
tated the accusation, woukl direct the proceeding, and pro- 
nounce the sentence. lie prudently declined the tribunal of 
his enemies ; despised the summons of the synod of Caesarea ; 
and, after a long and artful delay, submitted to the peremp- 
tory commands of the emperor, who threatened to punish 
his criminal disobedience if he refused to appear in the coun- 
cil of Tyre.-^°* Before Athanasius, at the head of fifty 
Egyptian prelates, sailed from Alexandria, he had wisely 
secured the alliance of the Meletians ; and Arsenius himself, 
his imaginary victim, and his secret friend, was privately 
concealed in his train. The synod of Tyre was conducted 
by Eusebius of Caesarea, with more passion, and with less 
art, than his learning find experience might promise ; his 
numerous faction repeated the names of homicide and tyrant ; 

^'^ The Meletians in Egypt, like the Donatists in Africa, were produced by an 
episcopal quarrel which arose from the persecution. I liave not leisure to pursue 
the obscure controversy, whith seems to have been misrepresented by the par- 
tiality of Athanasius and the ignorance of Epiphanius. See Mosheim's General 
History of the Church, vol. i. p. 201. 

1'^^ The treatment of the six bishops is specified by Sozomen (1. ii. c. 25) ; but 
Athanasius himself, so copious on the subjectof Arsenius and the chalice, leaves 
this grave accusation without reply.* 

i>* Athanas. tom. i. p. 788. Socrates, 1. i. c. 28. Sozomen. 1. ii. c. '25. The 
emperor, in liis Epistle of Convocation (Eusob. in Vit. Constant. 1. iv. c. 42), 
seem.^ to prejudge some members of the clergy, and it was more than probable 
that the synod would apply those reproaches to Athanasius. 



* This grave charge, if made (and it rests entirely on the authority of Sozo- 
men\ seems to have been silently drop:>ed by the i)arties themselves ; it is never 
alluded loin the subseijuent investigations. From Sozomen himself, who gives 
the unfavorable report of the commission of inquiry sent to Egypt concerning 
the cup, it does not appear that they noticed this accusation of personal violence. 
— M. 



238 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

and their clamors were encouraged by the seeming patience 
of Atlianasiiis, who expected the decisive moment to produce 
Arsenius alive and unlmrt in the midst of the assembly. 
The nature of the other charges did not admit of such clear 
and satisfactory replies ; yet the archbishoj) was able to 
prove, that in the village, where he was accused of breaking 
a consecrated chalice, neither church nor altar nor chalice 
could really exist. The Arians who had secretly determined 
the guilt and condemnation of their enemy, attempted, how- 
ever, to disguise their injustice by the imitation of judicial 
forms: the synod appointed an episcopal commission of six 
delegates to collect evidence on the spot ; and this measure, 
which was vigorously o))posed by the Egy))tian bishops, 
opened new scenes of violence and perjury.^°^ After the 
return of the dej)utics from Alexandria, the majority of the 
council pronounced the final sentence of degradation and 
exile against the primate of Egypt. The decree, expressed in 
the fiercest language of malice and revenge, was communi- 
cated to the emperor and the Catholic church ; and the bishops 
immediately resumed a mild and devout aspect, such as be- 
came their holy pilgrimage to the Sepulclire of Christ.^*^^ 

But the injustice of these ecclesiastical judges had not 
been countenanced by the submission, or even by the pres- 
ence, of Athanasius. He resolved to make a bold and dan- 
gerous experiment, whether the throne was inaccessible to 
the voice of truth, and before the final sentence could be 
pronounced at Tyre, the intrepid primate threw himself into 
a bark which was ready to hoist sail for the Imperial city. 
The request of a formal audience might have been opposed 
or eluded ; but Athanasius concealed liis arrival, watched 
the moment of Constantino's return from an adjacent villa, 
and boldly encountered his angry sovereign as he passed on 
horseback through the principal street of Constantinople. 
So strange an apparition excited his surprise and indigna- 
tion ; and the guards were ordered to remove the importu- 
nate suitor; but his resentment was subdued by involuntary 
respect ; and the haughty spirit of the emperor was awed by 
the courage and eloquence of a bishop, who implored his 
justice and awakened his conscience. ^^^ Constantine listened 

^"•'' See, ill particular, tlie second Apology of Athanasius (torn. i. pp. 7GO-808), 
and his Epistles to the Monks (pp. 8;)S-8u(i). 'They are justified hy original and a\i- 
Ihcntic documoits ; but they tvould inspire more coulideuce if he appeared less 
innocent, iind his enemies less absurd. 

^^^ Eusebius in Vit. Constantin. 1. iv. c. 41-47. 

J'J'^ Athanas. toin. i. p. 804. In a church dedicated to St. Athanasius, this sit- 
uation would afford a better subject for a picture than most of the stori;js of mir- 
acles and martyrdoms. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 239 

to the complaints of Athanasius with impartial and even 
gracious attention ; the members of the synod of Tyre were 
summoned to justify their proceedings ; and the arts of the 
Eusebian faction would have been confounded, if they had 
not aggravated the guilt of the primate, by the dexterous 
supposition of an unpardonable offence ; a criminal design 
to intercept and detain the corn fleet of Alexandria, which 
supplied the subsistence of the new capital. ^*^* The empei'or 
was satisfied that the peace of Egypt would be secured by the 
absence of a popular leader ; but he refused to fill the vacancy 
of the archiepiscopal throne ; and the sentence, which, after 
long hesitation, he pronounced, was that of a jealous ostra- 
cism, rather than of an ignominious exile. In the remote 
province of Gaul, but in the hospitable court of Treves, 
Athanasius passed about twenty-eight months. Tlie death 
of the emperor changed the face of public affairs ; and, 
amidst the general indulgence of a young reign, the primate 
was restored to his country by an honorable edict of the 
younger Constantine, who expressed a deep sense of the 
innocence and merit of his venerable guest. ^^^ 

The death of that prince exposed Athanasius to a second 
persecution ; and the feeble Constantius, the sovereign of 
the East, soon became the secret accomplice of the Eusebians. 
Ninety bishops of that sect or faction assembled at Antioch 
under the specious pretence of dedicating the cathedral. 
They composed an ambiguous creed, which is faintly tinged 
with the colors of Semi-Arianism, and twenty-five canons, 
which still regulate the discipline of the orthodox Greeks.^^^ 
It was decided, with some appearance of equity, that a bishop, 
deprived by a synod, should not resume his episcopal func- 
tions till he had been absolved by the judgment of an equal 
synod ; the law was immediately applied to the case of Atha- 

^"5 Athanas. torn. i. p. 729. Eunapius has related (in Vit. Sophist, pp. 36, 37) 
edit. Commelin) a strange example of the cruelty and credulity of Constantino 
on a similar o<^'casion. The eloquent Sopater, a Syrian philosopher, enjoyed his 
friendship, and provoked the resentment of Ablavius, his Praetorian prajfect. 
The coin-fleet was detained for want of a south wind ; the people of Constanti- 
nople were discontented ; and Sopater was beheaded on a charge that he had 
ftotmrf the winds by the power of magic. Suidas adds, that Constantine wished 
to prove, by this execution, that he had absolutely renounced the superstition of 
the Gentiles. 

^^^ In his return he saw Constantius twice at Viminiacum, and at C?esarea in 
Cappadocia (Athanas. torn. i. ]>. 67G). Tillemont snppo.es that Constantine in- 
troduced him to the meeting of the three royal brothers in Pannonia (Memoires 
Eccles. torn. viii. p. 69), 

"^ See Beveridge, Pandect, torn. i. pp. 429^.52, and torn. ii. Annotation, p, 
182. Tillemont, M6m. Eccles. tom. vi. pp. 310-324. St, Hilary of Poitiers haa 
mentioned this synod of Antioch with too much favor and respect. He reckons 
ninety-seven bishops. 



240 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

nasius ; the council of Antioch pronounced, or rather con- 
firmed, his degredaiion ; a stranger, named Gregory, was 
seated on his throne ; and Piiilagrius,^^^ the praifect of Egypt, 
was instructed to support tlie new primate with the civil 
and military powers of the province. Oppressed by the con- 
spiracy of the Asiatic preLates, Athanasius witiidrew from 
Alexandria, and passed three years ^^" as an exile and a sup- 
pliant on the holy threshold of the Yatican.^^^ By the as- 
siduous study of the Latin language, he soon qualified him- 
self to negotiate with the western clergy ; his decent flattery 
swayed and directed the haughty Julius ; the Roman pontiff 
was persuaded to consider his appeal as the peculiar interest 
of the Apostolic see, and his innocence was unanimously de- 
clared iu a council of fifty bishops of Italy. At the end of 
three years, the j^riraate was summoned to the court of Milan 
by the emperor Constans, who, in the indulgence of unlaw- 
ful pleasures, still professed a lively regard for the orthodox 
faith. The cause of truth and justice was promoted by the 
influence of gold,^^^ and the ministers of Constans advised 
their sovereign to require the convocation of an ecclesiasti- 
cal assembly, which might act as the representatives of the 
Catholic church. Ninety-four bishops of the West, seventy- 
six bishops of the East, encountered each other at Sardica, 
on the A'erge of the two empires, but in the dominions of 
the protector of Athanasius. Their debates soon degener- 
ated into hostile altercations ; the Asiatics, apprehensive for 
their personal safety, retired to Philippopolis in Thrace ; and 
the rival synods reciprocally hurled their spiritual thunders 
against their enemies, whom they piously condemned as the 

m This magistrate, so odious to Atliauasius, is praised by Gregory Xazianzen 
torn. 1. Orat. xxi. pp. '^90, 301. 

Ssepe premente Deo fert Deus aKer opem. 

For the credit of human nature, I am always pleased to discover some good qual- 
ities in those men wliom party lias represented as tyrajitsand monsters. 

11- The chronological dittlculties which perplex the residence of Athanasiiisat 
Rome are strenuously agitated by Valesius (Observat. ad Calcem, to:u. ii. Hist. 
Eccles. 1. i. c. 1-5) and Tillemont (Mem. Eccles. tom. viii. p. 674, &c). I have fol- 
lowed the simple hypothesis of Valesius, who allows only one journey, after the 
intrusion of Gregory. 

113 I cannot fo)bear transcribing a judicious observation of Wetstein (Prolego- 
men. N. T. p. 19): Si tamen Ilistoriam Ecclesiasiicam velimus coiisulere, pate bit 
jam inde a secnlo quarto, cum, ortis controversiis, ecclesiie Gnecije doctores in 
duas partes scinderentur, ingenio, eloquentia, nuniero, tantumnon jecjuales, earn 
partem quae vincere ciipiebat Romam confngisse, majestatemtiue ponlificis comi- 
ter coluisse, eoqiie pacto oppressis per pontilicem et episcopos Latinos ad versariis 
praevaluisse. atque orthudoxiani in conciliis stabilivisse. Eaniob causam Athan- 
asius, non sine, comitat'i, Koniani petiit, plurescjue annos ibi ha:;sit. 

11* Philostorgius, 1. iii. c. 12. If any corruption was used to promote the in- 
terest of religion, an advocate of Athanasius mighu justify or excuse this ques- 
tionable conduct, by the example of Cato and Sidney ; the former of whom is 
said to have given, and the latter to have received, a bribe in the cause of liberty. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 241 

enemies of the trueGocl. Their decrees were published and 
ratified in their respecti v'e provinces : and Athanasius, who 
in the West was i-evered as a saint, was exposed as a crimi- 
nal to the ablioiTence of tlie East.^^^ The council of Sardica 
reveals the first sj-mptoms of discord and schism between 
the Greek and Latin churches which were separated by the 
accidental difference of faith, and the permaneut distinction 
of lang^uac^e. 

During his second exile in the West, Athanasius wa^ 
frequently admitted to the Imperial presence; at Ca]uia, 
Lodi, Milan, Verona, Padua, Aquileia, and Treves. The 
bishop of the diocese usually assisted at these interviews; 
the master of the ofliices stood before the veil or curtain of 
the sacred apartment ; and the uniform moderation of the 
primate might be attested by these respectable witnesses, to 
whose evidence he solemnly appeals.^^^ Prudence would 
undoubtedly suggest tlie mild and respectful tone that be- 
came a subject and a bisho]i- In these familiar conferences 
with the sovereign of tlie West, Athanasius might lament 
the error of Constantius, but he boldly arraigned the guilt 
of his eunuchs and his Arian prelates ; deplored the distress 
and danger of the Catholic church ; and excited Constans to 
emulate the zeal and glory of his father. The emperor de- 
clared his resolution of employing the troops and treasures 
of Europe in the orthodox cause; and signified, by a concise 
and peremptory epistle to his brother Constantius, that un- 
less he consented to the immediate restoration of Athanasius, 
he himself, with a fleet and army, would seat the archbishop 
on the throne of Alexandria.-^^" But this religious war, so 
horrible to nature, Avas prevented by the timely compliance 
of Constantius ; and the emperor of the East condescended 
to solicit a reconciliation with a subject whom he had injured. 
Athanasius waited with decent ])ride, till he had received 
three successive epistles full of the strongest assurances of 
the protection, the favor and the esteem of his sovereign ; 
who invited him to resume his episcopal seat, and who added 

115 The canon which allows appeals to the Roman pontilTs has almost raised 
the council of Sardica lo the dignity of a general council ; and its acts have been 
ij^norantly or artfully coulounded with those of the Nicene synod. See Tille- 
monl, torn. vii. p. G8!>» and Geddes Tracts, vol. ii. pp. 419-400. 

'•" As Athanasius dispersed secret invectives against Constantius (see the 
Epi-^tle to the Monks), at the same time that he assured liim of his profound re- 
spect, we might distrust the professions of the archbishop, Tom. i. p. 677. 

"'" Notwithstanding the discreet, silence of Athanasius, and the manifest for- 
gery of a letter inserted by Socrates, these menaces are proved by the unques- 
tionable evidence of Lucifer of Cagliari, and even of Constantius himself. See 
Tillemont, torn. viii. p. 693. 

Vol. II.— 16 



242 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

the humiliating precaution of engaging his principal minis- 
ters to attest the sincerity of his intentions. They were 
manifested in a still more public manner, by the strict orders 
which were despatched into Egypt to recall the adherents 
of Athanasius, to restore tlieir j)rivileges, to ])roclaim their 
innocence, and to erase from the public registers the illegal 
proceedings which had been obtained during the prevalence 
of the Eusebian faction. After every satlsf action and sc curity 
had been given, which justice or even delicacy could require, 
the primate proceeded, by slow journeys, through the prov- 
inces of Thrace, Asia, and Syria ; and his progress was marked 
by the abject homage of the Oriental bishops, who excited 
his contempt without deceiving his penetration. ^^^ At An- 
tioch he saw the emperor Constantius; sustained, with mod- 
est firmness, the embraces and protestations of his master, 
and eluded the proposal of allowing the Arians a single 
church at Alexandria, by claiming, in the other cities of the 
empire, a similar toleration for his own party; a reply which 
might have ap})eared just and moderate in the mouth of an 
indejiendent prince. The entrance of the archbishop into 
his capital w^as a triumphal procession ; absence and persecu- 
tion had endeared him to the Alexandrians ; his authority, 
which he exercised with rigor, was more firmly established ; 
and his fame was diffused from ^Ethiopia to Britain, over 
the whole extent of the Christian world. "^ 

But the subject who has reduced his prince to the neces- 
sity of dissembling can never expect a sincere and lasting 
forgiveness ; and the tragic fate of Constans soon depiived 
Athanasius of a powerful and generous protector. The civil 
war between the assassin and the only surviving brother of 
Constans, which afflicted the empire above three years, 
secured an interval of repose to the Catholic church ; and 
the two contending parties were desirous to conciliate the 

ii8 I have always entertained some doubts concerning the retractation of L^'^rsa- 
cius and Valens (Athanas. torn. i. p. 776). Tiieir epistles to Julius, bishop of Rome, 
and to Athanasius himself, are of so different a cast from each other, that they can- 
not both be genuine. The one speaks the language of criminals, who confess their 
guilt and infamy; the other of enemies, who solicit on equal terms an honorable 
reconciliation.* 

119 The circumstances of his second return may be collected from Athanasius 
himsrlf, tom. i. pp. 769, and 822, 843. Socrates, 1. ii. c' 15. Sozomen, 1. iii. c. 19. Theo- 
doret, 1. ii. c. 11, 12. Philostorgius, 1. iii. c 12. 



* I cannot quite comprehend the ground of Gibbon's doubts. Athanasius dis- 
tinctly asserts the fact of their retractation. (Athan. Op. i. }). i:^9, edit. Benedict.) 
The epistles are apparently translations from the Latin, if, in fact, more than 
the substance of the epistles. That to Athanasius i^^ brief. alm«.>st abrupt. Their 
retractation is likewise mentioned in the address of the orthodox bishops of 
Rimini to Constantius. Athan. de Syuodis. Op. t. p. 723.— M. 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 243 

friendship of a bishop, who, by the weiglit of his personal 
authority, might determine the fluctuating resolutions of an 
important province. He gave audience to the ambassadors 
of the tyrant, with whom lie was afterwards accused of 
holding a secret correspondence ; ^-^ and the emperor Con- 
stantius repeatedly assured his dearest father, the most 
reverend Athanasius, that, notwithstanding the malicious 
rumors which were circulated by their common enemies, he 
had inherited the sentiments, as well as the throne, of his 
deceased brother.^^^ Gratitude and humanity would have 
disposed the primate of Egypt to deplore the untimely fate of 
Constans, and to abhor the guilt of Magnentius ; but as he 
clearly understood that the apprehensions of Constantius were 
liis only safeguard, the fervor of his prayers for the success 
of the righteous cause might perhaps be somewhat abated. 
The ruin of Athanasius was no longer contrived by the ob- 
scure malice of a few bigoted or angry bishops, who abused 
the authority of a credulous monarch. Tlie monarch him- 
self avowed the resolution, which he had so long suppressed, 
of avemring his private injuries;^- and the first winter after 
liis victory, which he passed at Aries, was employed against 
an enemy more odious to him than the vanquished tyrant 
of Gaul. 

If the emperor had capriciously decreed the death of the 
most eminent and virtuous citizen of the republic, the cruel 
order would have been executed without hesitation, by the 
ministers of open violence or of specious injustice. The 
caution, the delay, the difficulty with which he proceeded in 
the condemnation and punishment of a popular bishop, dis- 
covered to the Avorld that the privileges of the church had 
already revived a sense of order and freedom in the Roman 
government. Tiie sentence which was j^ronounced in the 
synod of Tyre, and subscribed by a large majority of the 
Eastern bishops, had never been expressly repealed ; and as 
Athanasius had been once degraded from his e];)iscopal dig- 
nity by the judgment of his brethren, every subsequent act 
might be considered as irregular, and even criminal. But 

121' Athanasius (torn. i. pp. 677, 678) defends his innocence by pathetic com- 
plaints, solemn assertions, and specious arguments. He admits that letters had 
been forged in Ins nami:;,but he requests that liis own secretaries and those of the 
tyrant may be examined, whether those letters had been written by the former, 
or received bv the latter. 

•5!i Alhanas. torn- i. pp. 825-844 

122 Athanas. torn. i. p. 861. Theodoret. 1. ii. c. 16, The emperor declared, that 
he was more desirous to subdue Athanasius, than he had been to vanquish Mag- 
nentius or Sylvan us. 



244 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

tlie memory of the firm and effectual support which the 
primate of Egypt had derived from the attachment of the 
Western church, engaocd Constantius to suspend the execu- 
tion of the sentence till lie had obtained the concurrence of 
the Latin bishops. Two years were consumed in ecclesias- 
tical negotiations ; and the important cause between the 
emperor and one of liis subjects was solemnly debated, first 
in the synod of Aries, and afterwards in the great council of 
Milan, ^'^^ which consisted of above three hundred bishops. 
Their integrity vv\as gradually undermined by the arguments 
of the Arians, the dexterity of the eunuchs, and the ju-essing 
solicitations of a prince who gratified his revenge at the ex- 
pense of his dignity, and exposed his own passions, whilst 
he influenced those of the clergy. Corruption, the most in- 
fallible symptom of constitutional liberty, was successfully 
practiced ; honors, gifts, and immunities were offered and 
accepted as the price of an episcopal vote ; ^-^ and the con- 
demnation of the Alexandrian primate was artfully repre- 
sented as the only measure which could restore the peace 
and union of the Catholic church. The friends of Athana- 
sius were not, however, wanting to their leader, or to their 
cause. With a manly spirit, which the sanctity of their 
character rendered less dangerous, they maintained, in pub- 
lic debate, and in private conference with the emperor, the 
eternal obligation of religion and justice. They declared, 
that neither the hope of his favor, nor the fear of his dis- 
pleasure, should prevail on them to join in the condemna- 
tion of an absent, an innocent, a respectable brother.^^^ 
They afiirmed, with apparent reason, that the illegal and 
obsolete decrees of the council of Tvre had lono: since been 
tacitly abolished by the Imperial edicts, the honorable rees- 
tablishment of the archbishop of Alexandria, and the silence 
or recantation of his most clamorous adversaries. They 
alleged, that his innocence had been attested by the unani- 

*2'^ The affairs of the council of Milan are so imperfectly and erroneously re- 
lated by the Greek writers, that we must rejoice in the supply of some letters of 
Eiisebius, extracted by Baroiiius from the archives of the church of Var- 
cellae, and of an old life of Dionysius of Milan, publirhed by Bollandus. See 
Baronius, A.D. 355, and Tillemont, torn. vii. p. 1415. 

1-^ The honors, presents, feasts, which seduced so many bishops, are mentioned 
with indignation by those who were too pure or too proud to accept them. " We 
combat (says Hilary of Poitiers) against Constantiiis the Antichrist; who strokes 
the belly instead of scourging the back;" qui non dorsa caedit; sed ventrem 
palpat. Hilarius contra Constant, c. 5, p. 1240. 

•-^ Something of this opposition is mentioned by Ammianus, (xv. 7), who had a 
very dark and s'perficial knowledge of ecclesiastical history. Liberius * * * 
perseveranter renitebatiir, nee visum hominem, nee auditum damnare, nefas 
ultimum saepe exclamans ; aperte scilicet recalcitrans Imperatoris arbitrio. Id 
euiui ille Athanasio semper infestus, &c. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIEE. 245 

mous bishops of Egypt, and bad been acknowledged in the 
councils of Rome and Sardica,^^^ by the impartial judgment 
of the Latin church. They deplored the hard condition of 
Athanasius, who, after enjoying so many years Ids seat, liis 
re])utation, and the seeming confidence of his sovereign, was 
again called upon to confute the most groundless and ex- 
travagant accusations. Their language was specious ; their 
conduct was honorable ; but in this long and obstinate con- 
test, which fixed the eyes of the whole empire on a single 
bishop, the ecclesiastical factions were prepared to sacri- 
fice truth and justice to the more interesting object of de- 
fending or removing the intrepid champion of tlie Nicene 
faith. The Arians still thought it prudent to disguise, in 
ambiguous language, their real sentiments and designs; but 
the orthodox bishops, armed witli the favor of the people, 
and the decrees of a general council, insisted on every occa- 
sion, and particularly at Milan, that their adversaries should 
purge themselves from the susjMcion of lieresy before 
tlicy ])resumed to arraign the conduct of the great Atha- 
nasius,^^'^ 

But the voice of reason (if reason was indeed on the side 
of Athanasius) was silenced by the clamors of a factious or 
venal majority ; and the councils of Aries and Milan were 
not dissolved, till the archbishop of Alexandria had been 
solemidy condemned and deposed by the judgment of the 
Western, as well as of the Eastern, church. The bishops Avho 
had opposed, were required to subscribe, the sentence, and 
to unite in religious communion with the suspected leaders 
of the adverse party. A formulary of consent was trans- 
mitted by the messengers of state to the absent bishops : 
and all those who refused to submit their private opinion to 
the public and ins])ired wisdom of the councils of Aries and 
Milan, were immediately banished by the emperor, who af- 
fected to execute tlie degrees of tlie Catholic church. 
Among those prelates who led the honorable bnnd of con- 
fessors and exiles, Liberius of Rome, Osius of Cordova, 
Paulinus of Treves, Dionysius of Milan, Eusebius of Vei- 
cellie, Lucifer of Cagliari, and Hilary of Poitiers, may de- 
serve to be particularly distinguished. The eminent sta- 

120 More properly by the orthodox part of the council of Sardica. If the 
bishoi)s of both parties had fairly voted, the division would have been Ot to 7G. 
M. de Tillemont (see torn. viii. pp. 1147-115^) is justly surprised that so small a 
majority sliould have proceeded so vigorously agaiust their adversaries, thd 
pi'incii)a] of wliojn they iniiiiediately deposed. 

127 Sulp. Severus iiiHist. Sacra, l. ii. p. 412. 



246 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

tion of Liberius, who governed the capital of the empire ; 
the personal merit and long experience of the venerable 
Osius, who was revered as the favorite of the great Constan- 
tine, and the father of the Nicene faith, placed those prel- 
ates at the head of tlie Latin church : and their example, 
either of submission or resistance, would probably be imi- 
tated by the episcoj^al crowd. But the repeated attempts 
of the emperor to seduce or to intimidate the bishops of 
Rome and Cordova, were for some time ineffectual. The 
Spaniard declared liimself ready to suffer under Constan- 
tius, as he had suffered threescore years before under his 
grandfather Maximian. The Roman, in the presence of liis 
sovereign, asserted the innocence of Athanasius and his own 
freedo-m. When he was banished to Beraea in Thrace, he 
sent back a large sum which had been offered for the ac- 
commodation of his journey ; and insulted the court of 
Milan by the liaughty remark, that the emperor and his 
eunuchs might want that gold to pay their soldiers and their 
bishops.^-^ The resolution of Liberius and Osius was at 
length subdued by the hardships of exile and confinement. 
The Roman j)ontiff purchased his return by some criminal 
compliances ; and afterwards ex])iated his guilt by a season- 
able repentance. Persuasion and violence were employed 
to extort the reluctant signature of the decrejjit bishop of 
Cordova, wliose strength was broken, and whose faculties 
were perhaps impaired by the weight of a hundred years ; 
and the insolent triumph of the Arians provoked some of 
the orthodox party to treat with inhuman severity the 
character, or rather the memory, of an unfortunate old 
man, to whose former services Christianity itself was so 
deeply indebted. ^-^ 

The fall of Liberius and Osius reflected a brighter lustre 
on the firmness of those bishops who still adhered with un- 
shaken fidelity, to the cause of Athanasius and i-eligious 
truth. The ingenious malice of their enemies had deprived 
them of the benefit of mutual comfort and advice, separated 
those illustrious exiles into distant provinces, and carefully 
selected the most inhospitable spots of a great empire.^^^ 

128 The exile of Liberius is mentioned by Ammianus, xy. 7. See Theodoret, L 
ii. o« 16. Athanas. tom. 1. pp. 834-8- >7. Hilar. Fragment i. 

1-* The life of Osius is collected by Tillemont (tom. vii. pp. 524-561), who in the 
most extravas^ant terms first admires, and then reprobates, the lishop of Cordova. 
In the midst of their lamentations on his fall, the prudenoe of Athanasius may 
be distinguished from the blind and intemperate zeal of Hilary. 

I'i' The confessors of ihe West were successively baTii^^hed to the de.'^erts of 
Ara^>ia oi- Thebiiis, the lonely places of Mount Taurus, the wildest parts of Phry- 



OP THE ROMAX EMPIKa. 247 

Yet they soon experienced that the deserts of Libya, and 
the most barbarous tracts of Cappadocia, were less inhospi- 
table than the residence of those cities in which an Arian 
bishop could satiate, without restraint, the exquisite rancor 
of theological hatred.^^^ Their consolation was derived from 
the consciousness of rectitude and independence, from the 
applause, tlie visits, the letters, and the liberal alms of their 
adherents, ^^'-^ and from the satisfaction which they soon en- 
joyed of observing the intestine divisions of the adversaries 
of the Nicene faith. Such was the nice and capricious taste 
of the emperor Constantius ; and so easily was he offended 
by the slightest deviation from his imaginary standard of 
Christian truth, that he persecuted, with equal zeal, those 
who defended the consubstantiality^ those who asserted the 
similar substance^ and those who denied the likeness of the 
Son of God. Three bishops, degraded and banished for 
those adverse opinions, might possibly meet in the same 
place of exile ; and, according to the difference of their tem- 
per, might either ])ity or insult the blind enthusiasm of their 
antagonists, whose present sufferings would never be com- 
pensated by future happiness. 

The disgrace and exile of the orthodox bishoj^s of the 
West were designed as so many preparatory steps to the 
ruin of Athanasius himself.-^^^ Six-and-twenty months had 
elapsed, during which the Imperial court secretly labored, 
by the most insidious arts, to remove him from Alexandria, 
and to withdraw the allowance which supplied his popular 
liberality. But when the primate of Egypt, deserted and 
proscribed by the Latin church, was left destitute of any 
foreign support, Constantius despatched two of his secreta- 
ries with a verbid commission to announce and execute the 
order of his banishment. As the justice of the sentence was 
publicly avowed by the whole party the only motive which 

gia, which were in the possession of the impious Montaiiists, &c. When the 
heretic Ag tins was too favorably entertained at Mopsuestia in Cilieia, tlie place 
of his exile was changed, by the advice of Acacias, to Amblada, a distri(-t inhab- 
ited by savages, and infested by war and pestilence. I'hilostorg, 1. v. c. 2. 

I'l See the cruel treatment and strange obstinacy of Eusebius, in his own let- 
ters, published by Baronius, A.I). 35G, Ko. 92-10L\ 

1-- Caeteium exulcs satis constat, totius orbis stiuliis oelebratos, pecTUiiasque 
eis in sumptum afFatim congestas, legationibus quoque eos plcbis Catholicse ex 
omnibus fere provinciis frequentatos. Sulp. Sever. Hist. Sacra, p. 414. Athanas. 
torn. i. pp. 83G, 8 tO. 

i« Ample materials for the history of this third persecution of Athanasius 
may be found in his own works. See particularly his very able Apology to Con- 
staiitius (torn, i, p. GT.'!), his first Apology for his /light (p.'TOl), his prolix Epistle 
to the Solitaries (p. 808), and the original protest of the people of Alexandria 
against tlie v.olences committed by Syrianus (p. 8GG). Sozomen (1. iv. c. 9) has 
thrown into the nanative two or three luminous and important circumstances. 



248 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

could restrain Constantius from giving his messengers the 
sanction of a Avritten mandate, must be imputed to ]iis doubt 
of the event ; and to a sense of the danger to which he 
might expose the second city, and the most fertile province 
of the empire, if the people should persist in the resolution 
of defending, by force of arms, the innocence of their spirit- 
ual father. Such extreme caution afforded Athanasius a 
specious pretence respectfully to dispute the truth of an or- 
(ier, which he could not reconcile, either with the equity, or 
with the former declarations, of his gracious master. The 
civil powers of Egypt found themselves inadequate to the 
task of persuading or compelling the primate to abdicate his 
episcopal throne ; and they were obliged to conclude a treaty 
with the popular leaders of Alexandria, by which it was stip- 
ulated, that all proceedings and all hostilities should be sus- 
pended till the emperor's pleasure had been more distinctly 
ascertained. By this seeming moderation, the Catholics 
were deceived into a false and fatal security ; while the le- 
gions of the Upper Egypt, and of Libya, advanced, by secret 
orders and hasty marches, to besiege, or rather to sui'prise, 
a capital habituated to sedition, and inflamed by religious 
zeal.^^'' The position of Alexandria, between the sea and 
the Lake Mareotis, facilitated the approach and landing of 
the troops ; who were introduced into the heart of the city, 
before any effectual measures could be taken, either to shut 
the gates or to occupy the important posts of defence. At 
the hour of midnight, twenty-three days after the signature 
of the treaty, Syrian us, duke of Egypt, at the head of live 
thousand soldiers, armed and prepared for an assault, unex- 
pectedly invested the church of St. Theonas, where the arch- 
bishop, with a part of his clergy and people, perfoi-med their 
nocturnal devotions. The doors of the sacred edifice 
yielded to the impetuosity of the attack, which was accom- 
panied with every horrid circumstance of tumult and blood- 
shed ; but, as the bodies of the slain, and the fragments of 
military w^eapons, remained the next day an unexception- 
able evidence in the possession of the Catholics, the enter- 
prise of Syriai^us may be considered as a successful irruption 
rather than as an absolute conquest. The other churches of 
the city were profaned by similar outrages ; and, during at 

*34 Athanasius tad lately sent for Antony, and some of his chosen monks. 
They descended from their mountain, announced lo the Alexandrians the sanc- 
tity of Athanasius, and were honorably conducted hy the avchbislioi) as far as the 
gates of tlie city. Athanas, torn. ii. po. 491, 492, See likewise Kutinus, iii. 164, 
ui Vit. Patr. p. 254. 



OP THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 249 

reastfour months, Alexandria was exposed to the insults of 
a licentious army, stimulated by the ecclesiastics of a hos- 
tile faction. Many of the faithful were killed ; who may 
deserve the name of martyrs, if their deaths were neither 
provoked or revenged ; bishops and presbyters were treated 
with cruel ignominy ; consecrated virgins were stripped 
naked, scourged and violated ; the houses of wealthy citi- 
zens were plundered ; and, under the mask of religious 
zeal, lust, avarice, and private resentment, were gratified 
with impunity, and even with applause. The Pagans of 
Alexandria, Avho still formed a numerous and discontented 
party, were easily persuaded to desert a bishop whom they 
feared and esteemed. The hopes of some peculiar favors, 
and the apprehension of being involved m the general pen- 
alties of rebellion, engaged them to promise their support 
to the destined successor of Athanasius, the famous George 
of Cappadocia. The usurper, after receiving the consecra- 
tion of an Arian synod, was placed on the episcopal throne 
by the arms of Sebastian, who had been appointed Count 
of Egypt for the execution of that important design. In 
the use, as well as in the acquisition, of power, the tyrant 
George disregarded the laws of religion, of justice, and of 
humanity ; and the same scenes of violence and scandal 
which had been exhibited in the capital, were repeated in 
more than ninety episcopal cities of Egypt. Encouraged 
by success, Constantius ventured to approve the conduct 
of his ministers. By a public and passionate epistle, the 
emperor congratulates the deliverance of Alexandria from a 
popular tyrant, who deluded his blind votaries by the magic 
of his eloquence ; expatiates on the virtues and piety of the 
most reverend George the elected bishop ; and aspires, as 
the patron and benefactor of the city, to surpass the fame of 
Alexander himself. But he solemnly declares his unalter- 
able resolution to pursue with fire and sword the seditious 
adherents of the wicked Athanasius, who, by flying from 
justice, has confessed his guilt, and escaped the ignomini- 
ous death which he had so often deserved. ^^^ 

Athanasius had indeed escaped from the most imminent 
dangers ; and the adventures of that extraordinary man 
deserve and fix our attention. On the memorable night 
when the church of St. Theonas was invested by the troops 
cf Syrianus, the archbishop, seated on his throne, expected, 

135 Athnnas. tom. i. p. G04. The emperor, or his Arian secreta- ies, while tliey 
express their resentment, betray their fears and esteem of Athanasius. 



250 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

with calm and intre]^id dignity, the approach of death. 
Wliilc the public devotion was interrupted by shouts of rage 
and cries of terror, he animated his trembling congregation 
to express their religious confidence, by chanting one of the 
psalms of David which celebrates the triumph of the God of 
Israel over the haughty and impious tyrant of Egypt. The 
doors were at length burst open : a cloud of arrows was 
discharged among the people ; the soldiers, with drawn 
swords, rushed forwards into the sanctuary ; and the dread- 
ful gleam of their armor was reflected by the holy luminaries 
which burnt round the altar.^^'' Athanasius still rejected 
the pious importunity of the monks and presbj-ters, who 
were attached to his person ; and nobly refused to desert 
his episcopal station, till he had dismissed in safety the last 
of the congregation. The darkness and tumult of the night 
favored the retreat of the archbishop ; and though he ^^as 
oppressed by the w^aves of an agitated multitude, though he 
w as thrown to the ground, and left without sense or motion, 
he still recovered his undaunted courage, and eluded the eager 
search of the soldiers, who were instructed by their Arian 
guides, that the head of Athanasius would be the most 
acceptable present to the en]])eror. From that moment the 
primate of Egypt disappeared from the eyes of his enemies, 
and remained above six years concealed in impenetrable 
obscurity.^^"^ 

The despotic power of his implacable enemy filled the 
whole extent of the Roman world ; and the exasperated mon- 
arch had endeavored, by a very pressing epistle to the Chris- 
tian princes of Ethiopia,* to exclude Athanasius from the 
most remote and sequestered regions of the earth. Counts, 
praefects, tribunes, whole armies, were successively em- 
l^loyed to pursue a bishop and a fugitive ; the vigilance of 

136 These minute circumstances are curiou^?, as tliey arc literally transcribed 
from the protest, which was j)ubliciy presenLed throe days afterwards by the 
Caiholics of Alexandria. See Athanas. torn. 4, p. 867. 

i'^'" The Jansenists have often compared Athanasius and A rnauld, and have ex- 
patiated witii pleasure on the faith and zeal, the merit and exile, of tliose cele- 
brated doctors. This concealed parallel is very dexterously managed by the 
Abb6 de la Bleterie, Vie de Jovien. torn. i. p. 130. 



* The princes were called Aeizanas and Saiazanas. Athanasius calls them 
the kings of Axum (6i ep Av^ovfxei Tupan/oi)- In the superscription of his letter, 

Constantius gives them no title, Ni/cjjrrj? Kofo-TavTio^ ^e-yiffro? a€^a(jTo<; Xi^iiva Kai 

^aC,ava- Mr. Salt, duringhis lirst journey in Ethiopia (in 1806), discovered, in the 
ruins of Axnm, a long and very interesting inscription relating to these princes. 
It was erected to commemorate the victory of Aeizanas over the Bongaitjp (St. 
Martin considers them the Blemmyes. whose trne name is Bedjah or Bodjah). 
Aeizanas is styled king of ihe Axumiles, the Homeritcs, of I\aeidnn, of the Ethi- 
opians, of the Snbarites, of Silca, of Tiamo, of the Bougaites, and of Kaei. It 
aiJpears that at this time the king of the Ethiopians ruled over the HomeriteS; 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 251 

the civil and military powers was excited by llie Imperial 
edicts ; liberal rewards were promised to the man who 
should produce Athanasius, either alive or dead ; and the 
most severe penalties were denounced against tliose who 
should dare to protect the public enemy.^^** But the deserts 
of Thebais were now peopled by a race of wild, yet submis- 
sive fanatics, who preferred the commands of their abbot to 
the laws of their sovereign. The numerous disciples of 
Antony and Pachomius received the fugitive primate as 
their father, admired the patience and humility with wliich 
he conformed to their strictest institutions, collected every 
word which dropped from his lips as the genuine effusions 
of inspired wisdom ; and persuaded themselves, that their 
prayers, their fasts, and their vigils, were less meritorious 
than the zeal which they expressed, and the dangers which 
they braved, in the defence of truth and innocence. ^"^ The 
monasteries of Egypt were seated in lonely and desolate 
places, on the summit of mountains, or in the islands of the 
Nile ; and the sacred horn or trumpet of Tabenne was the 
well-known signal which assembled several thousand robust 
and determined monks, who, for the most part, liad been 
the peasants of the adjacent country. Wlien their dark 
retreats were invaded by a military force, which it was impos- 
sible to resist, they silently stretched out their necks to the 
executioner ; aucl supported their national character, that 
tortures could "never wrest from an Egyptian the confession 
of a secret which he was resolved not to disclose.^^*^ The 
archbishop of Alexandria, for whose safety they eagerly de- 
voted their lives, was lost among a uniform and well-disci- 
plined multitude ; and on the nearer ajDproach of danger, he 
was swiftly removed by their ofKcious hands, from one 
place of concealment to another, till he reached the formid- 
able deserts which the gloomy and credulous temj^er of 

133 Hinc jam toto orbe profugus Athanasius, ncc tillus ei tutus a<l latendiim 
supererat locus. Tribuiii, Piaifecti, Comites, exercitus quoque, a<l pervesiij^aii- 
dum euni movcntur edictis Imperialibus ; i)raiinia delatoribus proijonuiittir, si 
qui:i eum vivuni, si id minus, caput certe Atlianasii detuliss<;t. Kulin. 1. i. c. IG. 

J''-* Gregor, Nazianzen. torn. i. Orat. xxi. pp. 384, o85. See Tillemont, Mem. 
Eccles. torn. vii. pp. 170-410, ^'J0-S80, 

"0 Et nulla tonnentorum vis inveniri adhuc potuit ; quae obdurato illius tractiis 
latroni invito elicere potuit, ut nomen proprium dicat. Ammian. xxii. 10, and 
Valesius ad locum. 



the inhabitants of Yemen. He was not yet a Christian, as he calls himself son of 
the invincible Mars, vibi 0eov avLKrirov "Apewj. Another brother besides Saiuza- 
iias, named Adephas, is mentioned, though Aci/.anas seems to have been sole 
king. Sec St. INIartin, note on Le Beau. ii. 151, Salt's Travels. Silv. de Sacy. 
note in Annales des Voyages, xii. p. 53. — M. 



252 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

superstition hod peopled with daBmons and savage monsters. 
The retirement of Atlianasius, Avhicli ended only with tlie life 
of Constantius, was spent, for the most ])art, in the society 
of the monks, who faithfully served him as guards, as 
secretaries, and as messengers ; but the importance of main- 
taining a more intimate connection with the Catholic party 
tempted him, whenever the diligence of the pursuit was 
abated, to emerge from the desert, to introduce himself into 
Alexandria, and to trust his person to the discretion of his 
friends and adherents. His various adventures might have 
furnished the subject of a very entertaining romance. He 
was once secreted in a dry cistern, which he had scarcely 
left before he was betrayed by the treachery of a female 
slave ;^^^ and he was once concealed in a still more extraor- 
dinary asylum, the house of a virgin, only twenty years of 
age, and who was celebrated in the whole city for her 
exquisite beauty. At the hour of midnight, as she related 
the story many years afterwards, she was surprised by the 
appearance of the archbishop in a loose undress, who, 
advancing with hasty steps, conjured her to afford him the 
protection which he had been directed by a celestial vision 
to seek under her hospitable roof. Tlie pious maid accepted 
and preserved the sacred pledge which was intrusted to her 
prudence and courage. Without imparting the secret to any 
one, she instantly conducted Athanasiusintoher most secret 
chamber, and watched over his safety with the tenderness 
of a friend and the assiduity of a servant. As long as the 
danger continued, she regularly supplied him with books and 
provisions, washed his feet, managed his correspondence, 
and dexterously concealed from the eye of suspicion this 
familiar and solitary intercourse between a saint whose 
character required the most unblemished chastity, and a 
female Avhose charms might excite the most dangerous 
emotions. ^^^ During the six years of persecution and exile, 
Atlianasius repeated his visits to his fair and faithful ccm- 
j^anion ; and the formal declaration, that he saK^ the councils 
of Rimini and Seleucia,^^^ forces us to believe that he was 

1^1 Rufln. 1. 1. 0. 18. Sozomen.l. iv. c. 10. Tliis and tho followincc story will 
be rendered impossible, if we suppose that Atlianasius always inhabited the 
asylum which he accidentally or occasionally had used. 

1*2 Palladiiis(Hist. Lausiac. c. 136, In ^'it. Patrum, p. 116), the original author 
of this anecdote, had conversed with the damsel, who in her old n-^e still remem- 
bered with plrasure so pious and honorable a connection. I cannot induljTO the 
delicacy of Baronius, Valesius. Tilleniont, &c., who almost reject a story so un- 
worthy, as they deem it, of the gravity of ecclesiastical history. 

"•■' Athanas. torn. i. p. .Sf.i). i agree with Tilleinoi\t (torn. viii. p. 11P7), that his 
expressions imply a personal, thoiigh perhaps secret, visit to the synods. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 253 

secretly present at the time and place of their convocation. 
The advantage of personally negotiating with his friends, 
and of observing and improving the divisions of his enemies, 
might justify, in a prudent statesman, so bold and danger- 
ous an enterprise : and Alexandria was connected by trade 
and navigation with every seaport of the Mediterranean. 
"From the depth of his inaccessible retreat the intre])id primate 
waged an incessant and offensive war against the protector of 
the Arians ; and his seasonable writings, which were dili- 
gently circulated and eagerly perused, contributed to nnite 
and animate the orthodox party. In his public apologies, 
which he addressed to the emperor himself, he sometimes 
affected the praise of moderation ; whilst at the same time, in 
secret and vehement invectives, he exposed Constantius as a 
weak and wicked prince, the executioner of his family, the 
tyrant of the republic and the Antichrist of the church. In 
the height of his prosperity, the victorious monarch, who had 
chastised the rashness of Gallus, and suppressed the revolt of 
Sylvan us, who had taken the diadem from the head of Vetra- 
nio, and vanquished in the field the legions of Magnentius, 
received from an invisible hand a Avound, which he could 
neither heal nor revenge ; and the son of Constantine was the 
first of the Christian princes who experienced the strength of 
those ])rinciples, which, in the cause of religion, could resist 
the most violent exertions "* of the civil power. 

The persecution of Atlianasius, and of so many respecta- 
ble bishops, who suffered for the truth of their opinions, or 
at least for the integrity of their conscience, was a just sub- 
ject of indignation and discontent to all Christians, except 
those who were blindly devoted to the Arian faction. The 
people regretted the loss of their faithful pastors, whose 
banishment was usually followed by the intrusion of a 
stranger ^"^^ into the episcopal chair; and loudly complained, 
that the right of election was violated, and tliat they were 
condemned to obey a mercenary usurper, whose person was 
unknown, and whose principles were suspected. The Catho- 

^** The epistle of Atlianasius to the monks is filled with reproaches, which the 
public must feel to bi- true (vol. i. pp. 834, ^!^)G); anil, in compliment to his readers, 
he has introduced the comparisons of Pharaoh, Ahab, Belshazzar, &c. The 
boldness of Hilary was attended with less danger, if he jiublished his invective 
in Gaul, after the revolt of Julian ; but Lucifer sent his libels to Constantius, 
and almost challenged the reward of martyrdom. See Tillemont, tom. vii. p. 
905. 

"-' Atlianasius Ctom. i. p. Rll) complains in general of this practice, which he 
afterwards exemplilics (p. Hfil) in the pretended election of Felix. Three eunuchs 
represented the ftoman people, and three prelates, who followed the court, as* 
Bumftd the functions of the bishops of the Suburbicarian provinces. 



254 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

lies might prove to the -world, that they Avore not involved 
in the guilt and heresy of their ecclesiastieal governor, l)y 
])ub]icly testifying their dissent, or by totally separating 
themselves from his eommnnion. The first of tliese methods 
was invented at Antioeh, and practiced with sncli success, 
tliat It was soon diffused over the Christian world. Tlie 
doxology, or sacred hymn, winch celebrates the glory of the 
Trinity, is susceptible of very nice, but material, inflections; 
and the substance of an orthodox, or an heretical, creed, 
may be expressed by the difference of a disjunctive, or a 
copulative, particle. Alternate responses, and a more regu- 
lar jisalmody,^^*^ were introduced into the pul)lic service by 
Flavianus and Diodorus, two devout and active laymen, who 
Avere attached to the Nicene fnith. Under their conduct a 
swarm of monks issued from the adjacent desert, bands of 
well-disciplined singers were stationed in the cathedral of 
Antioeh, the Glory to the Father, and the Son, and the 
Holy Ghost,"''^ was triumphantly chanted by a full chorus of 
voices; and the Catholics insulted, by the purity of their 
doctrine, the Arian jn'elate, who bad usur])ed the throne of 
the venerable Eustathius. The same zeal which inspired 
their songs prompted the more scrupulous members of the 
orthodox party to form separate assemblies, which were 
governed by the presbyters, till the death of their exiled 
bishop allowed the election and consecration of a new epis- 
copal pastor."^ The revolutions of the court multiplied the 
number of pretenders ; and the same city was often dis- 
puted, under the reign of Constantius, by two, or three, or 
even four, bishops, who exercised their spiritual jurisdiction 
over their resj^ective followers, and alternately lost and re- 

"6 Thomassin (Discipline de I'Eglise, torn. i. 1. ii. c. 72, 73, pp. 966-984) has 
coUected many curious facts concerning the origin and progress of church sing- 
ing, botli in tlie East and West.* 

^*7 Philostorgius, 1. iii. c, 13. Godefroy has examined this subject with singu- 
lar accuracy (p. 147, &c.). There were three heterodox forms : " To the Father by 
the Son, a«r/ in the Holv Ghost"; "To the Father, anrf the Son in the Holy 
Ghost" ; and " To tho Father in the Son o/j(/the Holy Ghost." 

"3 After the exile of Eustathius, under the reign of Constantine, the ricrid 
party of the orthodox formed a separation which afterwards degenerated into a 
schism, and lasted about fourscore years. See Tillemont. Mem. EccIcr. torn. vii. 
pp. 3.5-54. 11.37-11.58, tom. viii. pp. 537-632, 1314-13.S2. In many churches, the 
Arians and HomooTisians,who had renounced each other's communion, continued 
for some time to join in prayer. Philostorgius, 1. iii. c. 14. 



* Arius appears to have been the first to avail himself of this means of im- 
pressing his doctrines on tlie popular ear : he composed songs for sailors, millers, 
and travellers, and set them to common airs; '• beguiling the ignorant, by tho 
sweetness of his music, info the impiety of his doctrines." Philostorgius, ii. 2. 
Arian singers used to parade the streets of Constantinople by night, till Chrj-sos- 
tom arrayed against them a band of orthodox choristers. Sozomen, \iii. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN^ EMPIRE. 255 

gained the temporary possessions of the cliurch. The abuse 
of Christianity introduced into the Roman government new 
causes of tyranny and sedition ; the bands of civil society 
were torn asunder by the fury of rchgious factions; and 
the obscure citizen, who miglit calmly have surveyed the 
elevation and fall of successive emperors, imagined and ex- 
perienc^ed that his own life and fortune were connected with 
tlie interests of a popular ecclesiastic. The example of the 
two capitals, Rome and Constantinople, may serve to repre- 
sent the state of the empire, and the temper of mankind, 
under tlie reign of the sons of Constantino. 

I. Tiie Roman pontiff, as long as he maintained his sta- 
tion and his principles, was guarded by the warm attach- 
ment of a great people ; and could reject with scorn the 
prayers, the menaces, and the oblations of an heretical prince. 
When tlie eunuchs had secretly pronounced the exile of 
Liberius, the well-grounded apprehension of a tumult en- 
gaged them to use the utmost precautions in the execution 
of tlie sentence. The capital was invested on every side, 
and the praefect was commanded to seize the person of the 
bishop, either by stratagem or by open force. The order 
was obeyed, and Liberius, with the greatest difficulty, at the 
hour of midnight, was swiftly conveyed beyond the reach of 
the Roman people, before their consternation was turned 
into rage. As soon as they were informed of his banishment 
into Thrace, a general assembly was convened, and the 
clergy of Rome bound themselves, by a public and solemn 
oath, never to desert their bishop, never to acknowledge the 
usurper Felix ; who, by the influence of the eunuchs, had 
been irregularly chosen and consecrated within the walls of 
a profane palace. At the end of two years, their pious ob- 
stinacy subsisted entire and unshaken ; and when Constan- 
tius visited Rome, he was assailed by the importunate soli- 
citations of a people, who had preserved, as the last remnant 
of their ancient freedom, the right of treating their sovereign 
with familiar insolence. The wives of many of the senators 
and most honorable citizens, after pressing their husbands 
to intercede in favor of Liberius, were advised to undertake 
a commission, which in their hands would be less dangerous, 
and might prove more successful. The emperor received 
with politeness these female deputies, whose wealth and 
dignity were displayed in the magnificence of their dress 
and ornaments : he admired their inflexible resolution of 
following their beloved pastor to the most distant regions 



25G THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of the enrtli ; and consentod tliat tlie two bishops, Libcrius 
arul Felix, slioiild govern in ])e:iCe their respective congreg:i- 
tions. But the ideas of toleration were so repiignvit to the 
practice, and even to the sentiments, of those times, tliat 
when the answer of Constantius was ])ublio]y read in the 
Circus of Home, so reasonable a project of accommodation 
was rejected with contempt and ridicule. The eager vehe- 
mence wliich animated the spectators in the decisive moment 
of a horse-race, was now directed towards a different object; 
and the Circus resounded with the shout of thousands, wlio 
repeatedly exclaimed, "One God, One Christ, One Bishop!" 
The zeal of the Roman people in the cause of Liberius was 
not confined to words alone ; and the dangerous and bloody- 
sedition which they excited soon after the departure of Con- 
stantius determined that prince to accept the submission of 
the exiled prelate, and to restore him to the undivided do- 
minion of the capital. After some ineffectual resistance, 
his rival was expelled from the city by the permission of the 
emperor and the power of the op])osito faction ; the adher- 
ents of Felix were inhumanly murdered in the streets, in 
the public places, in the baths, and even in the churches; 
and the face of Rome, upon the return of a Christian bishop, 
renewed the horrid image of the massacres of Marius, and 
the proscriptions of Sylla.^"'^ 

II. Notwithstanding the rapid increase of Christians un- 
der the reign of the Flavian family, Rome, Alexandria, and 
the other great cities of the empire, still contained a strong 
and ])owerful faction of Infidels, who envied the ]n-osperity, 
and who ridiculed, even in their theatres, the theological 
disputes of the church. Constantinople alone enjoyed the 
advantage of being born and educated in the bosoin of tlie 
faith. The capital of the East had never been polluted by 
the worsliip of idols ; and the whole body of the peo])le had 
re3j)ly imbibed the opinions, the virtues, and the passions, 
which distinguished the Christians of that age from the rest 
of mankind. After the death of Alexander, the e])iscopal 
throne was disputed by Paul and JMacedonius. l>y tlieir 
zenl and abilities they both deserved the eminent station to 
which they asj)ired3 and if the moral ch:iracter of Mace- 
donius was less exceptionable, his competitor had tlie ad- 
vantage of a prior election and a more orthodox doctrine. 

^*^ See, on tliis ecclesiastical revolution of Rome, Ammianus. xv. 7. Athaiias. 
toni. i. p|>. h;!4, K(il. Sozoinen, 1. iv, c. IT). Tlieotlorel, 1. ii. «'. 17. Snip. Sever. 
Hist. Sacra, 1. ii. p. 413. Hieronyni. Chrou. Marcellin. et Fuuslin. Libell. pp. 3,4. 
Tillemont, Mdm. Eccles. torn. vi. p. 33G. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 257 

His firm attachment to the Nicene creed, which has given 
Paul a place in the calendar among saints and martyrs, 
exposed him to the resentment of the Arians. In the space 
of fourteen years he was five times driven from his throne ; 
to which he was more frequently restored by the violence 
of the j)e()])le, than by the permission of the prince; and tlie 
power of Macedonius could be secured only by the death of 
his rival. The unfortunate Paul was dragged in chains 
from the sandy deserts of Mesopotamia to the most desolate 
places of Mount Taurus,-^^^ confined in a dark and narrow 
dungeon, left six days without food, and at length strangled, 
by the order of Philip, one of the principal ministers of 
the emperor Constantius.^^^ The hrst blood which stained 
the new capital was spilt in this ecclesiastical contest ; and 
many pei*sons were slain on both sides, in the furious and 
obstinate seditions of the people. The commission of en- 
forcing a sentenr^e of banishment against Paul, had been in- 
trusted to Hermogenes, the master-general of tlie cavalry ; 
but the execution of it was fatal to himself. The Catholics 
rose in the defence of their bishop ; the palace of Hermo- 
genes was consumed ; the first military ofl5cer of the emj^ire 
was dragged by the heels through the streets of Constan- 
tino])le, and, after he expired, his lifeless corpse was exposed, 
to their wanton insults.-'^^ The fate of Hermogenes in- 
structed Philip, the Praetorian j^raefect, to act Avith more 
precaution on a similar occasion. In the most gentle and 
honorable terms, he required the attendance of Paul in the 
baths of Zeuxippus, which had a private communication 
with' the palace and the sea. A vessel, which lay ready at 
the garden stairs, immediately hoisted sail ; and, while the 
people were still ignorant of the meditated sacrilege, their 
bishop was already embarked on his voyage to Thessalonica. 

^'^ Cucufius was the last stac^e of his life and sufTeiings. The situation of that 
lonely town, en the confines of < appadocia, Cilicia, and the Lesser Armenia, has 
occasioned some geographical perplexity ; out we are directed to thetrne spot by 
the course of the Roman road from C;csarea to Anazarbus. See Cellarii Geograph. 
torn. ii. p. 213. Wesseling ad Itinerar. pp. 171i, 703. 

'■''• .(\thanasin8 (torn. i. pp. 703, 813, 814) a.iirms, in the most positive terms, 
that Paul was murrlered ; and appeals, not only to common fame, but even to the 
unsuspicious testimony of Philagrius, one of the Arian persecutors. Yet he 
ackjiowledgcs that the heretics attributed to disease the death of the bishop of 
Constantinople. Athanasius is servilely copied by Soctrates (1. ii. c. 2Q ; but 
Sozonten, who discovers a more liberal temper, presumes (1. iv. c. 2) to insinuate 
a prudent doubt. 

'^^ Ammianus (xiv, 10) refers to his own account of this tjragic event. But we 
110 longer possess that part of his history.* 



* Tlie murder of Hermogenes took place at the first expulsion of Paul from 
the see of Constantinople. — M. 

Vol. II.— 17 



258 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

They soon beheld, with surprise and indignation, the gates 
of the pabice thrown open, and the usurper Macedonius 
seated by the side of tlie praefect on a lofty chariot, which 
Avas surrounded by trooj^s of guards with drawn swords. 
The military procession advanced towards the cathedi-al ; 
tlie Arians and the Catliolics eagerly rushed to occupy that 
important post ; and three thousand one hundred and fifty 
persons lost their lives in the confusion of the tumult. Ma- 
cedonius, who was supported by a regular force, obtained 
a decisive victory ; but his reign was disturbed by clamor 
and sedition ; and the causes which appeared the least con- 
nected with the subject of dispute, were sufficient to noui'ish 
and to kindle the flame of civil discord. As the chapel in 
which the body of the great Constantine had been deposited 
Avas in a ruinous condition, the bishop transported those ven- 
erable remains into the church of St. Acacius, This prudent 
and even pious measure was represented as a wicked pro- 
fanation by the whole party which adhered to the Homoou- 
sian doctrine. The factions immediately flew to ai-ms, the 
consecrated ground was used as their field of battle ; and 
one of the ecclesiastical historians has observed, as a real 
fact, not as a figure of rhetoric, that the well before the 
church overflowed with a stream of blood, which filled the 
porticos and the adjacent courts. The writer who should 
impute these tumults solely to a religious principle, would 
betray a very imperfect knowledge of human nature; yet it 
must be confessed that the motive which misled the sin- 
cerity of zeal, and the pretence which disguised the licen- 
tiousness of passion, suppressed the remorse which, in an- 
other cause, would have succeeded to the rage of the Chris- 
tians of Constantinople. ^^^ 

The cruel and arbitrary disposition of Constantius, 
which did not always require the provocations of guilt and 
resistance, was justly exasperated by the tumults of his 
capital, and the criminal behavior of a faction, which op- 
posed the authority and religion of their sovereign. The 
ordinary punishments of death, exile, and confiscation, were 
inflicted with partial rigor ; and the Greeks still revere tlie 
holy memory of two clerks, a reader, and a subdeacon, who 
were accused of the murder of Ilermogenes, and beheaded 

153 §60 Socrates. ] ji. c. 6, 7, 12, 13, 15, 16,26, 27 38, and Sozomen, 1, iii. 3, 4, 7, 
P, 1 iv. c. ii. 21. TUe Jj.ct3 of St. Paul of Constantinople, of wliich Photius has 
iiiado an ^bstpact (Phot. Bihliot. pp. 1410-1430), aifa an indifferent oopy of 
i^ese hig'torians ; but a modern Greek, who could write the life of a saint with- 
p'nt adding ^pjbles and miracles, ia entitled to some commendation. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 259 

at the gates of Constantinople. By an edict of Constantius 
against the Catholics, which has not been judged worthy of 
a place in the Theodosian code, those who refused to com- 
municate with the Arian bishops, and particularly with 
Macedonius, were deprived of the immunities of ecclesi- 
astics, and of the rights of Christians ; they were compelled 
to relinquish the possession of the churches ; and were 
strictly prohibited from holding their assemblies within the 
walls of the city. The execution of this unjust law, in the 
provinces of Thrace and Asia Minor, was committed to the 
zeal of Macedonius ; tlie civil and military powers were 
directed to obey his commands ; and the cruelties exercised 
by this Semi-Arian tyrant in the support of the Ilomoiou- 
sio7i, exceeded the commission, and disgraced the reign, of 
Constantius. The sacraments of the church were adminis- 
tered to the reluctant victims, who denied the vocation, 
and abhorred the princi])les, of Macedonius. The rites of 
baptism were conferred on women and children, who, for 
that purpose, had been torn from the arms of their friends 
and parents ; the mouths of the communicants were held 
open by a wooden engine, while the consecrated bread was 
forced down their throat ; the breasts of tender virgins were 
either burnt with red-hot egg-shells, or inhumanly com- 
pressed between sharp and heavy boards. ^^^ The Novatians 
of Constantmople and the adjacent country, by their firm at- 
tachment to the Ilomoousian standard, deserved to be con- 
founded with the Catholics themselves. Macedonius was 
informed, that a large district of Paphlagonia ^^^ was almost 
entirely inhabited by those sectaries. He resolved either to 
convert or to extirpate them ; and as he distrusted, on this 
occasion, the efficacy of an ecclesiastical mission, he com- 
manded a body of four thousand legionaries to march 
against the rel)els, and to reduce the territory of Mantinium 
under his spiritual dominion. The Novatian peasants, ani- 
mated by despair and religious fury, boldly encountered 
the invaders of their country; and though many of the 
Paphlagonians were slain, the Roman legions were van- 
quished by an irregular multitude, armed only with scythes 

'54 Socrates, 1. ii. c 27, 38. Sozomen, 1. iv. c. 21, The principal assistants of 
Macedonius, in the work of persecution, were the two Ijishops of Nicoinedia and 
Cyzicus, wlio were esteeuied for tlieir virtues, and especially for their clKuity. 1 
cannot forbear reminding the reader, that the dilference between the Jlomoousioii 
and liomoiousion, is almost invisible to the nicest theolojiical eye- 

i-.j VVe are ignciant of the precise situation of Mantinium. In speaking of 
these four bands of legionaries, Socrates, Sozomen, and the author of the acts of 
St. Paul, use the indefinite terms of aot^iuoi, ijyaAayyeq, ray ixara, which Nicephorus 
very properly translates thousands- A'ales. ad Socrat. 1. ii. c. o8. 



260 TUE DECLINE AXD FALL 

finfl axes ; and, except a few who escaped by an ignominious 
flight, four thousancl soldiers were left dead on the field of 
battle. The successor of Constantius has expressed, in a 
concise but lively manner, some of the theological calami- 
ties which afflicted the em])ire, and more especially the 
East, in the reign of a prince who was the sla\e of his own 
passions, and of those of his eunuchs: "Many wei-e impris- 
oned, and persecuted, and driven into exile. Whole ti'oops 
of those who are styled heretics, were massacred, particu- 
larly at Cyzicus, and at Samosata. In Paphlagonia, Bithy- 
Tiia, Gallatia, and in many other provinces, towns and vil- 
lages were laid waste, and utterly destroyed. ^^^ 

While the flames of the Arian controversy consumed the 
vitals of the empire, the African provinces were infested by 
their peculiar enemies, the savage fanatics, who, under the 
name of Circuincellions^ formed the strength and scandal of 
the Donatist party. J'^'^ The severe execution of the laws of 
Constantine had excited a spirit of discontent and resist- 
ance ; the strenuous efforts of his son Constans, to restore 
the imity of the church, exasperated the sentiments of mutual 
hatred which had first occasioned the separation ; and the 
methods of force and corruption employed by the two Im- 
perial commissioners, Paul and Macarius, furnished the 
schismatics with a specious contrast between the maxims of 
the apostles and the conduct of their pretended successors. ^^^ 
The peasants who inhabited the villages, of Numidia and 
INIauritania, were a ferocious race, who had been imperfectly 
reduced under the authority of the Roman laws ; who were 
imperfectly converted to the Christian faith ; but who were 
actuated by a blind and furious enthusiasm in the cause of 
their Donatist ceachers. They indignantly supported the 

I'"'" Julian. Epistol. lii. p. 436, edit. Spanh^im. 

157 See Optatus Milevitaims (particularly iii. 4). with the Donatist history, by 
M. Dupin, and tlie original pieces at the end of his e<lition. The numerous cir- 
cumstances which Augu:*tin has mentioTied, of the fury of the C'ircumcellio 8 
against others, and again>>t themselves, have been laboriously collected by Tille- 
inont, Mem. Eccles. torn, vi pp. 147-1G5 ; and he has often, though without de.ign, 
exposed the injuries which had provoked those fanatics. 

i-'S It is amusing enougli to observe the language of opposite parties, when 
they speak of the same men and things. Gratus, bishop of Carthage, begius the 
acclamations of an orthodox synod, '' Gratias Deo omnipotenli etChsistu Jesu 
* * * qui imperavit religiosissimo Constant! Imperatori, ut voLum gereret 
imitatis, et mitteret ministros saTuti operis famulos Del Paulum et IMacarium." 
IMoiiument. Vet. ad Cakem Optati, p. 313. '"Ecce subito " (says the Donatist 
author of the Passion of Marcnlus^, " de Constantis regis tyraniuc^ domo * * * 
pollutuni Marcarianae persecntionis murmur inorepuit, et daahus bestiis ad 
Africam missis, eod^m scilicet IVIacario et Panlo, execrandum prorsus ac dirum 
ecclesiae certamen indictum est; ut populns Christianus ad unionem cunis tradi- 
toribus faciendam, nudatis militum gladiis et draconura pra^sentibus signis, et 
tubarura vocibus cogeretur." Monument p. 304. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 261 

exile of their bishops, the demolition of their churches, and 
the interruption of tlieir secret assemblies. The violence of 
the officers of justice, who were usually sustained by a 
military guard, was sometimes repelled with equal violence ; 
and the blood of some popular ecclesiastics, which had been 
shed in the quarrel, inflamed their rude followers with an 
eager desire of revenging the death of these holy martyrs. 
By their own cruelty and rashness, the ministers of persecu- 
tion sometimes provoked their fate ; and the guilt of an ac- 
cidental tumult precipitated the criminals into despair and 
rebellion. Driven from their native villages, the Donatist 
peasants assembled in formidable gangs on the edge of the 
Getulian desert; and readily exchanged the habits of labor 
for a life of idleness and rapine, which was consecrated by 
the name of religion, and faintly condemned by the doctors 
of the sect. The leaders of the Circumcellions assumed the 
title of captains of the saints ; their principal weapon, as 
they were indifferently provided with swords and spears, was 
a huge and weighty club, which they termed an Israelite ; 
and the well-known sound of " Praise be to God," which they 
used as their cry of war, diffused consternation over the un- 
armed provinces of Africa. At first their depredations were 
colored by the plea of necessity ; but tliey soon exceeded the 
measure of subsistence, indulged without control their intem- 
perance and avarice, burnt the villages whicli they had 
pillaged, and reigned the licentious tyrants of the open coun- 
tiy. Tlie occupations of husbandry, and the administration 
of justice, were interrupted ; and as the Circumcellions pre- 
tended to restore the primitive equality of mankind, and to 
reform the abuses of civil society, they opened a secure asylum 
for the slaves and debtors, who flocked in crowds to their 
holy standard. When they were not resisted, they usually 
contented themselves with plunder, but the slightest opposi- 
tion provoked them to acts of violence and murder ; and some 
Catholic priests, who had imprudently signalized their zeal, 
were tortured by the fanatics with the most refined and wan- 
ton barbarity. The spirit of the Circumcellions was not al- 
ways exerted against their defenceless enemies ; they engaged, 
and sometimes defeated, the troops of the ]n*ovince ; and in 
the bloody action of Bagai, they attacked in the open f^eld, 
but with unsuccessful valor, an advanced guard of the Im- 
perial cavalry. The Donatists who were taken in arms, re- 
ceived, and they soon deserved, the same treatment which 
might have been shown to the wild beasts of the desert. 



26-2 



THE DECLINE AXD FALL 



The captives died, without a murmur, either by the sword, 
tlie axe, or the fire ; and the measures of retaliation were 
multiplied in a rapid proportion, which aggravated the 
horrors of rebellion, and excluded tlie hope of mutual for- 
giveness. In the beginning of the pi-esent century, the ex- 
ample of the Circumcellions has been renewed in the perse- 
cution, the boldness, the crimes, and the enthusiasm of the 
Camisards ; and if the fanatics of Languedoc surpassed those 
of Numidia, by tlieir military achievements, the Africans 
maintained their fierce independence Avith more resolution 
and perseverance.^^® 

Such disorders are the natural effects of religious tyranny ; 
but the rage of the Donatists was inllamed by a frenzy of a 
\evy extraordinary kind ; and which, if it really prevailed 
among them in so extravagant a degree, cannot surely be 
paralleled in any country or in any age. Many of these 
fanatics were possessed with the horror of life, and the de- 
sire of martyrdom ; and they deemed it of little moment by 
what means, or by Avhat hands, they perished, if their con- 
duct was sanctified by the intention of devoting themselves 
to the glory of the true faith, and tJie hope of eternal hap- 
piness.-^*^^ Sometimes they rudely disturbed the festivals, 
and profaned the temj^les of Paganism, with the design of 
exciting the most zealous of the idolaters to revenge the in- 
sulted honor of their gods. They sometimes forced their 
way into the courts of justice, and compelled the affrighted 
judge to give orders for their immediate execution. They 
frequently stopped travellers on the public higliways, and 
obliged them to inflict the stroke of martyrdom, by the pro- 
mise of a reward, if they consented, and by the threat of 
instant death, if they refused to grant so very singular a 
favor. When they were disai^pointed of every other resource, 
they announced the day on which, in the presence of their 
friends and brethren, they should cast themselves headlong 
from some lofty rock ; and many precipices were shown, 
which had acquired fame by the number of religious suicides. 
In the actions of these desperate enthusiasts, who were ad- 
mired by one party as the martyrs of God, and abhorred by 
the other as the victims of Satan, an impartial philosopher 
may discover the influence and the last abuse of that inflexible 

159 The Histoire des Camisards, in 3 vols. 12 mo. Villefranche, 1760, may bo 
recommended as accurate and impartial. It requires some attention to discover 
tbe religion of the author. 

100 The Donatist suicides alleged in their justification the example of Eazias, 
which is related in the 14th chapter of the second book of the Maccabees. 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIEE. 263 

spirit, which was originally derived from the character and 
principles of the Jewish nation. 

The simple narrative of the intestine divisions, which 
distracted the peace, and dishonored the triumph, of the 
church, will confirm the remark of a Pagan historian, and 
justify the complaint of a venerable bishop. The experience 
of Ammianus had convinced him, that the enmity of the 
Christians towards each other, surpassed the fury of savage 
beasts against man ;^^^ and Gregory Nazianzen most patheti- 
cally laments, that the kingdom of heaven was converted, by 
discord, into the image of chaos, of a nocturnal tempest, and 
of hell itself.-^'^^ The fierce and partial writers of the times, 
ascribing all virtue to themselves, and imputing all guilt to 
their adversaries, liave painted the battle of the angels and 
demons. Our calmer reason will reject such pure and per- 
fect monsters of vice or sanctity, and will impute an equal, 
or at least an indiscriminate, measure of good and e^•il to 
the hostile sectaries, who assumed and bestowed the appella- 
tions of orthodox and heretics. They had been educated in 
the same religion, and the same civil society. Their hopes 
and fears in the present, or in a future life, were balanced in 
the same proportion. On either side, the error might be in- 
nocent, the faith sincere, the practice meritorious or corrupt. 
Their passions were excited by similar objects ; and they 
might alternately abuse the favor of the court, or of the 
people. The metaphysical oj^inions of the Athanasians and 
the Arians could not influence their moral character ; and 
they were alike actuated by the intolerant spirit which has 
been extracted from the pure and simple maxims of the gospel. 

A modern writer, who, with a just confidence, has pre- 
fixed to his own history the honorable epithets of political 
and philosophical,^^^ accuses the timid prudence of Montes- 
quieu, for neglecting to enumerate, among the causes of 
the decline of the empire, a law of Constantine, by which 
the exercise of the Pagan worship was absolutely suppressed, 
and a considerable part of his subjects was left destitute of 
j^riests, of temples, and of any public religion. The zeal of 
the philosophic historian for the rights of mankind, has in- 
duced him to acquiesce in the ambiguous testimony of those 

'<^ Nullas infestas homiiiibus bestias, ut sunt sibi ferales plerique Christiano- 
rum, expertus. Ammiau. xxii. 5. 

lo:! Gregor, Naziauzen, Orat. i. p. 33. See Tilleir.ont, torn, vi. p. 501, quarto 
edit. 

163 Histoire Politique et Philosophique dcs EtablissementsdesEurop^eiisdans 
lea deux ludes, torn. i. p. 9. 



264 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

ecclesiastics, who have too lightly ascribed to their favorite 
hero the merit of a general persecution.^^'* Instead of al- 
leging this imaginary law, which would have blazed in the 
front of the Imperial codes, we may safely appeal to the 
original epistle, Avhich Constantine addressed to the followers 
of the ancient religion ; at a time when he no longer dis- 
guised his conversion, nor dreaded the rivals of his throne. 
He invites and exhorts, in the most pressing terms, the sub- 
jects of the Roman empire to imitate the example of their 
master ; but he declares, that those who still refuse to open 
their eyes to the celestial light, may freely enjoy their tem- 
ples and their fancied gods. A report, that the ceremonies 
of paganism were suppressed, is formally contradicted by 
the emperor himself, who wisely assigns, as the principle of 
his moderation, the invincible force of habit, of prejudice, 
and of superstition .^^^ Without violating the sanctity of his 
promise, without alaiTning the fears of the Pagans, the art- 
ful monarch advanced, by slow and cautious steps, to under- 
mine the irregular and decayed fabric of polytheism. The 
partial acts of severity which he occasionally exercised, 
though they were secretly prompted by a Christian zeal, 
were colored by the fairest pretences of justice and the pub- 
lic good ; and while Constantine designed to ruin the founda- 
tions, he seemed to reform the abuses, of the ancient religion. 
After the example of the Avisest of his predecessors, he con- 
demned, under the most rigorous penalties, the occult and 
impious arts of divination ; which excited the vain hopes, 
and sometimes the criminal attempts, of those who were 
discontented with their present condition. An ignominious 
silence was imposed on the oracles, which had been publicly 
convicted of fraud and falsehood ; the effeminate priests of 
the Nile were abolished ; and Constantine discharged the 
duties of a Roman censor when he gave orders for the demo- 
lition of several temples of Phoenicia ; in which every mode 
of prostitution was devoutly practiced in the face of day, 



»M According to Eusebius (in Vit. Constantiti. 1. ii. c. 45), the emperor prohib- 
ited, both in cities and in the country, ra ixvcraaa. * * * « t^? EiScoAoAoTpeia? ; 
the abominable acts or parts of idohttry. Socrates (}. i. c. 17) and Sozomen (1. ii. 
c. 4, 5) have represented the conduct of Constantine with a jnst regard to triitli 
and history, which has been neglected by Theodoret (1. v. c. 21) .ind Orosius, 
(vii. 28). Turn deinde (says the latter) primus Constantinus ./ms/o ordinoet/><o 
vicem vertit edicto ; siquidem statuit citra ullam hoiainum caedem, paganorum 
templa claudi. 

""See Eusebius in Vit. Constantin. 1. ii. c. 56, 60. In the sermon to the as- 
sembly of saints, which the emperor prououiiced when he was mature in years 
and piety, he declares to the idolaters (c. xii.) that they are permitted to ofEer 
eacrilices, and to exercise every part of their religious worship. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 265 

and to the honor of Venus.^^*^ The Imperial city of Con- 
stantinople was, in some measure, raised at the expense, and 
was adorned with the spoils, of the opulent temples of Greece 
and Asia ; the sacred property was confiscated ; the statues 
of gods and heroes were transported, with rude familiarity, 
among a people who considered them as objects, not of 
adoration, but of curiosity ; the gold and silver were re- 
stored to circulation ; and the magistrates, the bishops, and 
the eunuchs, improved the fortunate occasion of gratifying, 
at once, their zeal, their avarice, and their resentment. But 
these depredations Avere confined to a small part of the Ro- 
man world ; and the provinces had been long since accus- 
tomed to endure tlie same sacrilegious rapine, from the 
tyranny of princes and proconsuls, who could not be sus- 
pected of any design to subvert the established religion.^^^ 

The sons of Constantine trod in the footsteps of their 
father, with more zeal, and with less discretion. The pre- 
tences of rapine and oppression were insensibly multiplied ;^^^ 
every indulgence was shown to tlie illegal behavior of the 
Christians; every doubt was explained to the disadvantage 
of Paganism; and the demolition of the temples was cele- 
brated as one of the auspicious events of the reign of Con- 
stans and Constantius.^^^ The name of Constantius is pre- 
fixed to a concise law, which Miight have superseded the 
necessity of any future prohibitions. " It is our pleasure, 
that in all places, and in all cities, the temples be immedi- 
ately shut, and carefully guarded, that none may have the 
power of offending. It is likewise our pleasure, that all our 
subjects should abstain from sacrifices. If any one should 
be guilty of such an act, let him feel the sw^ord of vengeance, 
and after his execution, let his property be confiscated to 
the public use. We denounce the same penalties against 
the governors of the provinces, if they neglect to punish the 

166 See Eusebius, in Vit. Constaiitin. 1. iii. c. 54-58, and 1. iv. c. 23, 25. Those 
acts of authority may be compared witli tlie suppression of the Bacchanals, and 
the demolition of the temple of lsi>, by the magistrates of Pagan Home. 

^^' Eusebius (in Vit. Constantiu. 1. iii. c. 54) and Libanius (Urat. pro Templis, 
pp. 9, 10, edit. Gothof red) both mention the pious sacrilege of Constantine, which 
they viewed in very dilYerent lights. The latter expressly declares, that " he 
made use of the sacred money, but made no alteration in the legal worship ; the 
temples indeed were impoverished, but the sacre<l xites were performed there." 
Lardner's flewish ajid Heathen Testimonies, vol. iv. p. 140. 

'•''^ Ammianus (xxii. 4) speaks of some court eunuchs who were spoliis templo- 
rum pasti. Libanius says (Orat. pro Temp, 1. p. 23) that the emperor often gave 
away a temple, like a dog, or a liorse, or a slave, or a gold cup ; but the devout 
philosopher takes care to observe, that these sacrilegious favorites very seldom 
prospered. 

'•"'^See Gothof red. Cod. Theodos. torn. vi. p. 2C2. Liban. Orat. Parental, c. x. 
in Fabric. Bibl. Grsec. torn, vii, p. 235. 



266 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

criminals." ^'^ But there is the strongest reason to believe, 
that this formidable edict was either composed without 
being published, or was published Avitliout being executed. 
Tlie evidence of facts, and the monuments wliich arc still 
extant of brass and marble, continue to prove the public ex- 
ercise of the Pagan worship during the whole reign of the 
sons of Constantine. In the East, as Avell as in the West, 
in cities, as well as in the country, a great number of tem- 
ples were respected, or at least were spared ; and the devout 
multitude still enjoyed the luxury of sacrifices, of festivals, 
and of processions, by the permission, or by the connivance, 
of the civil government. About four years after the sup- 
posed date of this bloody edict, Constantius visited the tem- 
ples of Rome ; and the decency of his behavior is recom- 
mended by a pagan orator as an example worthy of the 
imitation of succeeding princes. " That emperor," says 
Symmachus, " suffered the privileges of the vestal virgins to 
remain inviolate; he bestowed the sacerdotal dignities on 
the nobles of Rome, granted the customary allowance to 
defray the expenses of the public rites and sacrifices ; and, 
though he had embraced a different religion, he never at- 
tempted to deprive the empire of the sacred worship of an- 
tiquity." "^ The senate still presumed to consecrate, by 
solemn decrees, the divine memory of their sovereigns ; and 
Constantine himself was associated, after his death, to those 
gods whom he had renounced and insulted during his life. 
The title, the ensigns, the prerogatives, of sovereign pon- 
tiff, which had been instituted by Numa, and assumed by 
Augustus, were accepted, without hesitation, by seven Chris- 
tian emperors ; who were invested with a more absolute 
authority over the religion which they had deserted, than . 
over that which they professed.^'^ 

I'o Placuit omnibus locis atque iirbibus universis claudi protinus teiTipla, et 
accessu vetitis omnibus liceiitiam delinqnendi perditis abnegari. Volumus etiara 
cunctos a sacrificiis abstinere. Quod siquis aliquid forte hujusmodi perpetraverit, 
gladio sternatur: facultates etiani perenipti tisco decernimus vindicari : et simiL'- 
ter adtligi rectoresprovinciarum sit'ac-inora vindicare neglexerint. Cod. Tlieodcfi. 
1. xvi. tit. X. leg. 4. Chronology has discovered some contradiction in the date of 
this extravagant law ; the only one, perhaps, by which the negligence of magis- 
trates is punished by death and confiscation. M. de la Bastie (Mem. de I'Acada- 
mie, torn. xv. }>. 08) conjectures, with a show of reason, that this was no more than 
the minutes of a law, the hi ads of an intended bill, which were found in Scririis 
Memorije, among the i»apers of Coiistautius, aud afterwards inserted, as a worthy 
model, in the Tlieodosian Code. 

^'1 Symmach. Epistol. x. 54. 

^'2 The fourtli Dissertation of M. de la Bastie, sur le Souverain Pontificat des 
Empereurs Romains(in theM^m.de I'Acad. lom. xv. pp. 75- 144), is a very learned 
and judicious performance, which explains the state, and proves the toleration, 
of Paganism from Constantine to Gratian. The assertion of Zosimus, that Gra- 
tian was the first who refused the pontifical robe, is confirmed beyond a doubt, 
and the murmurs of bigotry on that subject are almost silenced. 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIEE. 267 

The divisions of Christianity suspended the ruin of 
Paganism / ^"^ and the holy war against the infidels was less 
vigorously prosecuted by princes and hisliops, who were 
more immediately alarmed by the guilt and danger of do- 
mestic rebellion. The extirpation of idolatry '^''^ might have 
been justified by the established principles of intolerance ; 
but the hostile sects, which alternately reigned in the Imperial 
court, were mutually apprehensive of alienating, and perhaps 
exasperating, the minds of a powerful, though declining fac- 
tion. Every motive of authority and fashion, of interest 
and reason, now militated on the side of Christianity ; but 
two or three generations elapsed, before their victorious in- 
fluence was universally felt. The religion which had so long 
and so lately been established in the Koman empire was still 
revered by a numerous people, less attached indeed to spec- 
ulative opinion than to ancient custom. The honors of the 
state and army were indifferently bestowed on all the sub- 
jects of Constantino and Constantius ; and a considerable 
portion of knowledge and weaMi and valor was still engaged 

^"3 As I have freely anticipated the use of pagans and paganism, I shall now 
trace the singular revolutions of those celebrated words. 1. Ua-yTj, in the Doric 
dialect, so familiar to the Italians, signilies a fountain ; and the rural neighbor- 
hood, which frecjuented the same fountain, derived the common appellation of 
pagns and pagans. (Festus sub voce, ajid Servius ad Virgil. Ueorgic. ii. 382). 2. 
By an easy extension of the word, pagan and rural became almost synonymous, 
(Plin. Hist. Natur. xxviii. 5) ; aniltlie meaner rustics acquired that name, wliich 
has been corrupted into peasants in the modern languages of Europe. 3. The 
amazing increase of the military order introduced the necessity of a correlative 
term (Hume's Essays, vol. i. p. 555) ; and all the ^^{'oyj/e who were not enlisted in 
the service of the prince were branded with the contemptuous epithet of 
pagans. (Tacit. Hist. iii. 24, 43, 77. Juvenal. Satir. !(!. Tertullian de Pallio, c. 
4.) 4. The Christians were the soldiers of Christ ; their adversaries, who refused 
his sacrament , or military oath of baptism, might deserve the metaphoric al name 
of pagans ; and this popular reproach "was introduced as early as the reign of 
Valentinian (A. D. 365) into Imperial laws (Cod. Theodos. 1. xvi. tit. ii. leg. 18) 
and theological writings. 5. Christianity gradually tilled the cities of the em- 
pire : the old religio)i, in the timeof Prudentius(advers. Symmachuni, 1. i. ad fin.) 
and Orosins (in Pr.-efat. Hist.), retired and languished in oLiscure villages ; and 
the word pagans, with its new significatiori, reverted to its primitive origin. 6. 
Since the worship of Jupiter and his family has expired, the vacant title of 
pagans has been successively applied to all the idolaters and polytheists of the 
old and new world. 7. The Latin Christians bestowed it, without scruple, on 
their mortal enemies, the Mahometans; and the purest Unitarians were branded 
with the unjust reproach of i<lolatry and paganism. See Gerard \ ossius, Etynio- 
logicou I>inguae Latinae, in his works, tom. i. p. 42^ ; Godefroy's Commentary on 
the Theodosian Code, tom. vi. p. 250 ; and Ducange, Medi.ne et lnlim:e J^atinitau 
Glossar. 

^■^ In the pure language of Ionia ami Athens, E'SwAoj/ and Aarpct'a were ancient 
and familiar words. The former expressed a likeness, an apparition (Homer. 
Odys. xi. GO I), a representation, an image, created cither by fancy or art. The 
latter <lenoted any sort of service or slavery. The Jews of Egypt, who translated 
the Hebrew Scriptures, restrained the use of these words (Exod. xx. 4, 5) to the 
religious worship of an image. The peculiar idiom of the Hellenists, or Grecian 
Jews, has beeji adopted by the sacred and ecclesiastical writers ; and the reproach 
of iflolafnj (EifitoAoAaTpcta) has stigmatized that visible and abject mode of 
superstition, which some sects of Christianity should not hastily impute to the 
polytheists of Greece and Rome. 



2G8 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

in the service of polytheism. The superstition of the senator 
and of the peasant, of the poet aiul tlie i)liilosopher, was 
derived from very different causes, but they met with equal 
devotion in tlie tem])les of tlie gods. Their zeal was insen- 
sibly provoked by the insulting trium])h of a proscribed 
sect; and their hopes were revived by tlie well-grounded 
confidence, that the presumptive heir of the empire, a young 
and valiant hero, who had delivered Gaul from the arms of 
the Barbarians, had secretly embraced the religion of his 
ancestors. 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 269 



CHAPTER XXII. 

JULIAN IS DECLARED EMPEROR BY THE LEGIONS OF GAUL. 

HIS 3IARCH AND SUCCESS. THE DEATH OF CONSTAN- 

TIUS. CIVIL ADMINISTRATION OF JULIAN. 

While the Romans languished under the ignominious 
tyranny of eunuchs and bishops, the praises of Julian were 
repeated with transport in every part of the emjnre, except 
in the palace of Constantius. Tlie barbarians of Germany 
had felt and still dreaded, the arms of the young Caesar ; his 
soldiers were the companions of his victory ; the grateful 
provincials enjoyed the blessings of his reign ; but the favor- 
ites, Avho had opposed his elevation, were offended by his 
virtues; and they justly considered the friend of the people 
as the enemy of the court. As long as the fame of Julian 
was doubtful, the buffoons of the palace, who were skilled 
in the language of satire, tried the efficacy of those arts 
which they had so often practiced with success. They easily 
discovered that his simplicity was not exempt from affecta- 
tion ; the ridiculous epithets of a hairy savage, of an ape in- 
vested with the purjjle, were applied to the dress and person 
of the philosophic warrior ; and his modest despatches were 
stigmatized as the vain and elaborate fictions of a loquacious 
Greek, a sj^eculative soldier, Avho had studied the art of 
war amidst the groves of the academy.^ The voice of mal- 
icious folly was at length silenced by the shouts of victory ; 
the conqueror of the Franks and Alemanni could no longer 
be painted as an object of contemj^t ; and the monarch him- 

^ Omnes qui plus poteraiit in palutio, adulandi professores jam docti, recte 
ooiisulta, prospereque complcta veitebant in deiidituluin : talia sine modo 
strepeiiles iiisulse ; in odium veiiit ciuu victoriis suis ; capella, iion Lomo ; ut 
hirsatua\ JuManurn carpeute?, appellantesque loqua<en» talpam, et purpuratam 
simiam, et litlerioneiu (ira;cuni : ct his coiij^ruentia i)liuinia alque veriiacula 
priucipi resonantes, audire ha^'c talia-jue gestienli, virtutes ejus obniere verbis 
impuuenlibus conabautur. et Kegueni incesseutes et limidum et umbratilem. 
gestaque secus verbis comptioiibus exornautem. Ammianus, s. xvii. 11.* 



* The philosophers retaliated on the courtiers. Marius (says Eunapius in a 
newly-di-scovered fraf^uieiit) v,as wont to call his antagonist Sylla, a beast half 
lion and half fox. Constantius had nothing of the lion, but was .■surrounded by a 
whole litter of foxes. ]Mai. Script. 13yz. Nov. Col. ii. 238. Niebuhr. Byzant. Hist. 
66.— M, 



270 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

self Avas mejiTily ambitious of stealing from his lieutenant the 
honorable reward of liis labors. In tlie letters crowned with 
laurel, Avliicli, according to ancient custom, were addressed 
to the provinces, the name of Julian was omitted. " Con- 
stantius had made his dispositions in person ; he had sig- 
nalized his valor in the foremost ranks ; his military conduct 
had secured the victory ; and tlie ca})tive king of the bar- 
barians was presented to him on the field of battle," from 
Avhich he was at that time distant about forty days' journey.^ 
So extravagant a fable was incapable, however, of deceiving 
the public credulity, or even of satisfying the pride of the em- 
peror himself. Secretly conscious that the applause and favor 
of the Romans accompanied the rising fortunes of Julian, his 
discontented mind was prepared to receive the subtle poison 
of those artful sycophants, who colored their mischievous 
designs with the fairest appearances of truth and candor.^ 
Instead of depreciating the merits of Julian, they acknowl- 
edged, and even exagger?,ted, his popular fame, superior 
talents, and important services. But they darkly insinuated, 
that the virtues of the Caesar might instantly be converted 
into the most dangerous crimes, if the inconstant multitude 
should prefer their inclinations to their duty; or if the gen- 
eral of a victorious army should be tempted from his alle- 
giance by the hopes of revenge and independent greatness. 
The personal fears of Constantius were interpreted by his 
council as a Ip.udable anxiety for the public safety; whilst 
in private, and perhaps in his own breast, he disguised, under 
the less odious appellation of fear, the sentiments of hatred 
and envy, which he had secretly conceived for the inimita- 
ble virtues of Julian. 

The apparent tranquillity of Gaul, and the imminent 
danger of the eastern provinces, offered a specious ])retence 
for the design which was artfully concerted by the Imperial 
ministers. They resolved to disarm the Caesar; to recall 
those faithful troops who guarded his person and dignity ; 
and to employ, in a distant war against the Persian monarch, 

2 Ammian. xvi. 12. The orator Theniistiiis (iv. p. 56. 57) believed whatever was 
contained in the Imperial letters, which were addressed to the senate of Constan- 
tinople. Aurelius Vi(!tor, who published his Al)riilgnient in the last year of 
(Constantius, ascribes the'Gernian victoiies to the wisdom, of the emperor, and the 

foHxiva of the Caesar. Yet the historian, soon nfterwards. wns intlbied 1o the 
favor or esteem of Julian for ihe honor of a hrnss statue, and the inipoitaiit 
offices of consular of the second Paunonia, and prjefect of the citv. Ammian. 
xxi. 10. 

3 Callido nocendi artificio, accusatoriam diritatem landum titulis peragebant. 
* * * Hae voces fuerunt ad inflammanda odia probis omnibus potentiores. See 
Mamertiu. in Actione Gratiarum in Vet. Panegyr. xi. 5, G. 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 271 

the hardy veterans who had vanquished, on the banks of the 
Rhme, the fiercest nations of Germany. While Julian used 
the laborious hours of his winter quarters at Paris in the 
administration of power, which, in his hands, was the 
exercise of virtue, he was surprised by the hasty arrival of a 
tribune and a notary, with positive orders from the emperor, 
which they were directed to execute, and he was commanded 
not to oppose. Constantius si2;nified his pleasure, that four 
entire legions, the Celtoe, and Petulants, the Heruli, and the 
Batavians, should be separated from the standard of Julian, 
under which they had acquired their fame and discipline ; 
that in each of the remaining bands three hundred of the 
bravest youths should be selected ; and that this numerous 
detachment, the strength of the Gallic army, should in- 
stantly begin their march, and exert their utmost diligence 
to arrive, before the opening of the campaign, on the fron- 
tiers of Persia.^ The Caisar foresaw and lamented the 
consequences of this fatal mandate. Most of the auxiliaries, 
who engaged their voluntary service, had stipulated, that 
they should never be obliged to pass the Alps. The public 
faith of Rome, and the personal honor of Julian, had been 
pledged for the observance of this condition. Such an act 
of treachery and oppression would destroy the confidence, 
and excite the resentment, of the independent warriors of 
Germany, who considered truth as the noblest of their vir- 
tues, and freedom as the most valuable of their possessions. 
The legionaries who enjoyed the title and privileges of 
Romans, were enlisted for the general defence of the repub- 
lic ; but those mercenary troops heard with cold indif- 
ference the antiquated names of the republic and of Rome. 
Attached, either from birth or long habit, to the climate and 
manners of Gaul, they loved and admired Julian ; they de- 
S])ised, and perhaps hated, the emperor; they dreaded the 

* The minute interval, which may be interposed, between the hyeme adu/id 
and tlie priino vtre of Ammianus (xx. 1, 4), instead oi" allowijig a sutHoient space 
for a march of three thousand mile?, would render the orders of Constantius as 
extravagant as they weie unjust. The troops of Gaul could not have reached 
Syria till the end of autumji. The memory of Ammianus must have been inac- 
curate, and his language incorrect.* 



* The late editor of Ammianus attempts to vindicate his author from the 
charge of inaccuracy, *'It is clear, from the whole course of the narrative, that 
Constantius entertained this design of demanding his troops from flulian, imme- 
diately after the taking of Amida, in the autumn of the i»rece<ling year, and had 
transmitted his onlers into Gaul, before it was known that Lupicinns had gone 
intoBiitain with the Herulians and Batavians. Wagner, note to Amm. xx. 4. 
But it seems also clear that the troops were in winter quarters (hiemabant) when 
the ordei*s arrived. Amraiauufl can scarcely be acquitted of incorrectness, in his 
language at least.— M. 



272 



THE DECLINE AND FALL 



laborious march, the Persian arrows, and the burning des'^rts 
of Asia. They claimed as their own the country which they 
had saved ; and excused their want of spirit, by pleading 
tlie sacred and more immediate duty of protecting their 
families and friends. The apprehensions of the Gauls were 
derived from the knowledge of the impending and inevita- 
ble danger. As soon as the provinces were exhausted of 
their military strength, the Germans would violate a treaty 
w^hich had been imposed on their fears ; and notwithstand- 
ing the abilities and valor of Julian, the general of a nom- 
inal army, to whom the public calamities would be imputed, 
must find himself, after a vain resistance, either a prisoner 
in the camp of the barbarians, or a criminal in the palace of 
Constantius. If Julian complied with the orders which he 
had received, he subscribed his own destruction, and that of 
a people who deserved his affection. But a positive refusal 
was an act of rebellion, and a declaration of war. The 
inexorable jealousy of the emperor, the peremptory, and 
perhaps insidious, nature of his commands, left not any room 
for a fair apology, or candid interpretation ; and the de- 
pendent station of the Csesar scarcely allowed him to pause 
or to deliberate. Solitude increased the perplexity of 
Julian ; he could no longer apply to the faithful counsels 
of Sallust, who had been removed from his office bv the 
judicious malice of the eunuchs . he could not even enforce 
his representations by the concurrence of the ministers, who 
would have been afraid or ashamed to approve the ruin of 
Gaul. The moment had been chosen, when Lupicinus,^ the 
general of the cavalry, was despatched into Britain, to 
repulse the inroads of the Scots and Picts ; and Florentius 
was occupied at-Vienne by the assessment of the tribute. 
The latter, a crafty and corrupt statesman, declining to 
assume a responsible part on this dangerous occasion, eluded 
the pressing and repeated invitations of Julian, who rep- 
resented to him, that in every important measure, the 
presence of the proefect was indispensable in the council of 
the prince. In the mean while the Caesar was opj^ressed by 
the rude and importunate solicitations of the Imperial 
messengers, who 2:)resumed to suggest, that if he expected the 

f> Animianus, xx. 1. The valor of Lupicinus, and his niilifary skill, are ac- 
knowledged by the historian, who, in his afiectei language, accuses tlie general 
of exalting the horns of his pride, bellowing in a tragic tone, and exciting a doubt 
whetlier he was more cruel or avaricious. The danger from the Scots and Picts 
•was so serious, that Julian himself had some thoughts of passir.g over into the 
island. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 273 

return of liis ministers, he would cliarge himself with the 
guilt of the delay, and reserve for tliem the merit of the 
execution. Unable to resist, unwilling to comply, Julian 
expressed, in the most serious terms, his wish, and even his 
intention, of resigning the purple, which he coukl not pre- 
serve with honor, but whicli he could not abdicate with 
safety. 

After a painful conflict, Julian was compelled to ac- 
knowledge, that obedience was the virtue of the most emi- 
nent subject, and that the sovereign alone was entitled to 
judge of the public welfare. He issued the necessary orders 
for carrying into execution the commands of Constantius; 
a part of the troops began their march for the Alps ; and 
the detachments from the several garrisons moved towards 
their respective places of assembly. They advanced with 
diffiicultv throufifh the tremblinc: and affriij-hted crowds of 
jDrovincials, who attempted to excite tiieir pity by sdent 
despair, or loud lamentations ; while the wives of the sol- 
diers, holding their infants in their arms, accused the de- 
sertion of their husbands, in the mixed language of grief, of 
tenderness, and of indignation. This scene of general dis- 
tress afflicted the humanity of the Cicsar ; he granted a 
sufficient number of post-wagons to transport the wives and 
families of the soldiers,'^ endeavored to alleviate the hard- 
ships which he was constrained to inflict, and increased, by 
the most laudable arts, his own popularity, and the discon- 
tent of the exiled troops. The grief of an armed multitude 
is soon conA^erted into rage ; their licentious murmurs, which 
every hour were communicated from tent to tent with more 
boldness and effect, prepared their minds for the most dar- 
ing acts of sedition ; and by the connivance of their tribunes, 
a seasonable libel was secretly dispersed, which painted in 
lively colors the disgrace of the Caesar, the oppression of the 
Gallic army, and the feeble vices of the tyrant of Asia. The 
servants of Constantius were astonished and alarmed by the 
progress of this dangerous spirit. They pressed the Caesar 
to hasten the departure of the troops; but they impru- 
dently rejected the honest and judicious advice of Julian; 
who proposed that they should not march through Paris, 
and suggested the danger and temptation of a last interview. 

As soon as the a2)proach of the troops was announced, 

c He granted them the permission of the ctirsus clavularis, or clabularis. 
These post-wajjons are often mentioned in the Code, and were supixjsed to carry 
lifteen hun<ired pounds weight. See Vales, ad Animian. xx. 4. 

Vol. II.— 18 



274 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the Caesar went out to meet them, and ascended his tribunal 
which liad been erected in a ])lain before tlie gates of the 
city. After distinguishing the officers and soldiers, Avho by 
their rank or merit deserved a peculiar attention, Julian ad- 
dressed himself in a studied oration totlie surrounding mul- 
titude : he celebrated their exploits with grateful applause ; 
encouraged them to accept, with alacrity, the lionor of serv- 
ing under the eyes of a powerful and liberal monarch ; and 
admonished them, that the commands of Augustus required 
an instant and cheerful obedience. The soldiers, Avho were 
apjjrehensive of offending their general by an indecent 
clamor, or of belying their sentiments by false and venal 
acclamations, maintained an obstinate silence ; and after a 
short pause, Avere dismissed to their quarters. The princi- 
pal officers were entertained by the Caesar, who professed, 
in the warmest language of friendship, his desire and his 
inability to reward, according to their deserts, the brave 
companions of his victories. They retired from the feast, 
full of grief and perplexity ; and lamented the hardship of 
their fate, which tore them from their beloved general and 
their native country. The only expedient Avhich could pre- 
vent their separation was boldly agitated and approved ; the 
popular resentment was insensibly moulded into a regular 
conspiracy; their just reasons of complaint were heightened 
by passion, and their passions were inflamed by wine; as, on 
the eve of their departure, the troops were indulged in licen- 
tious festivity. At the hour of midnight, the impetuous multi- 
tude, with swords, and bows, and torches in their hands, 
rushed into the suburbs ; encompassed the palace ; "^ and, care- 
less of future dangers, pronounced the fatal and irrevocable 
words, Julian Augustus ! The prince, whose anxious 
suspense was interrupted by their disorderly acclamations, 

' Most probably tbe palace of the batbs {Tliermarnjn)^ of which a soUd and 
lofty hull still subsists in the Jiue <le la JIarpe. The buildings covered a tou- 
sideruble space of the modern quarter of the university, and the gardens, uinler 
the Merovingian kings, communicated with the abbey of St. Germain des Prez. 
By the injuries of time and the Normans, this ancient palace was reduced, in the 
twelfth century, to a maze of ruins, whose dark recesses were the scene of liceu- 
tious love. 

Explicat aula sinus montemque amplectitur alls ; 

Multiplici latebra scelernm tersura ruborem. 
* * * * pereuntis sajpe pudoris 

Celatura nefas, Venerisque a,tcoiiimod& /urtis. 

(These lines are quoted fiom the Architrenius, 1. iv. c. 8, a poetical work of John 
de Hauteville, or Hanville, a monk of St. Albaa's. about the year IHH). See 
Warton's History of English Poetry, vol. i. dissert, ii.) Yet such t/itj'/.'t niight be 
less pernicious to mankind than the theological disputes of tbe Sorhonne, which 
have been since agitated ou the same ground. Bonamy, ]Mem. de I'Academie, 
torn. XV. pp. G78-682. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. . 275 

secured the cloors against tlieir intrusion ; and as long as it 
was in liis power, secluded his person and dignity from the 
accidents of a nocturnal tumult. At the dawn of day, the 
soldiers, whose zeal was irritated by opposition, forcibly 
entered the palace, seized, witli respectful violence, the ob- 
ject of their choice, guarded Julian with di-awn swords 
through the streets of Paris, placed him on the tribunal, and 
with repeated shouts saluted him as their emperor. Pru- 
dence, as well as loyalty, inculcated the propriety of resisting 
their treasonable designs ; and of prej)aring, for his op- 
pressed virtue, the excuse of violence. Addressing himself 
by turns to the multitude and to individuals, he sometimes 
implored their mercy, and sometinjes expressed his indigna- 
tion ; conjured them not to sully the fame of their immortal 
victories; and ventui-ed to promise, that if they would im- 
mediately return to their allegiance, he would undertake to 
obtain from the emperor not only a free and gracious pardon, 
but even the revocation of the orders which had excited 
their resentment. But the soldiers, who were conscious of 
their guilt, chose rather to depend on the gratitude of Julian, 
than on the clemency of the emperor. Their zeal was in- 
sensibly turned into impatience, and their impatience into 
rage. The inflexible Ca)sar sustained, till the third hour of 
the day, their ])rayers, their reproaches, and their menaces ; 
nor did he yield, till he had been repeatedly assured, that if 
he wished to live, he must consent to reign. He was exalted 
on a shield in the presence, and amidst the unanimous ac- 
clamations, of the troops ; a i"ich military collar, which was 
offered by chance, supplied the want of a diadem;^ the 
ceremony was concluded by the promise of a moderate do- 
native;^ and the new emperor, overwhelmed with real or 
affected grief, retired into the most secret recesses of his 
apartment. -^"^ 

The grief of Julian could proceed only from his innocence, 
but his innocence must apj^ear extremely doubtful ^^ in the 

8 Even in tliis tumultuous moment, Julian attended to tlie forms of supersti- 
tious ceremony, an<l obstinately refused the inauspicious nso of a female neck- 
lace, or a liorse collar, which the impatient soldiers would have employed in the 
room of a diadem. 

'■' An C'lual proportion of gold and silver, live pieces of the former, one pound 
of the latter; the whole amounting to about live pounds ten shillings of our 
money. 

1' Eor the whole narrative of this revolt, we may appeal to authentic and 
original materials ; Julian himself (ad S. P. Q. Atheniensem, pp. 2«2, 2H3, 284), 
Libanius (Orat. Parental, c. -14-4H, in Fabricius, Bibliot. Gricc. tom. vii. pp. 2CJ)- 
273), Ammianus (xx. 4), and Zosimus (1. iii. pp. 151, 1.02, Kui), who, in the reign of 
Julian, api)ears to follow Ihe more respectable authority of Kunapius. With such 
guides, we m'u/ht neglect Ihe abhreviators and ec(desiastical historians. 

11 Eutropius, a respectable witness, uses a doubtful expression, " consensu 



276 THE DECLIXE AND FALL 

eyes of those who have learned to suspect the motives and 
the professions of princes. His lively and active mind was 
susceptible of the various impressions of hope and fear, of 
gratitude and revenge, of duty and of ambition, of the love 
of fame, and of the fear of repronch. But it is impossible 
for us to calculate the respective weight and operation of 
these sentiments ; or to ascertain the principles of action 
which might escape the observation, while they guided, or 
rather impelled, the steps of Julian himself. The discontent 
of the troops was produced by the malice of his enemies ; 
their tumult was the natural effect of interest and of passion ; 
and if Julian had tried to conceal a deep design under the 
appearances of chance, he must have employed the most 
consummate artifice without necessity, and probably with- 
out success. He solemnly declares, in the presence of 
Jupiter, of the Sun, of Mars, of Minerva, and of all the 
other deities, that till the close of the evening which pre- 
ceded his elevation, he was utterly ignorant of the designs 
of the soldiers ; ^^ and it may seem ungenerous to distrust 
the honor of a hero and the truth of a philosopher. Yet the 
superstitious confidence that Constantius was the enemy, 
and that he himself was the favorite, of the gods, might 
prompt him to desire, to solicit, and even to hasten the 
auspicious moment of his reign, which was predestined to 
retore the ancient religion of mankind. When Julian had 
received the intelligence of the conspiracy, he resigned him- 
self to a short slumber ; and afterwards related to his friends 
that he had seen the Genius of the empire waiting with 
some impatience at his door, pressing for admittance, and 
reproaching his want of spirit and ambition.-^^ Astonished 
and perplexed, he addressed his prayers to the great Jupiter, 
who immediately signified, by a clear and manifest omen, 
that he should submit to the will of heaven and of the army. 
The conduct which disclaims the ordinarv maxims of reason, 
excites our suspicion and eludes our inquiry. Whenever 
the spirit of fanaticism, at once so credulous and so crafty, 

militum " (x. 15). Gregory Nazianzen, whose ignorance might excuse his fanati- 
cism, directly charges the apostate witli presuinpLiou, uiadness, and impious 
rebellion. au^dSeia, anoi/oia., aaepeta. Orat. iii- p. 67. 

^^ Julian, ad S. P. Q. Athen. p. 2i^. The decout Abbe de la Bleterie (Vie do 
Julien, II. 151*) is almost inclined to respect the devout protestations of a Pagan. 

!■* Ainmian. xx. 5, with the note of Ijindenbrogiuson theGeiiiusof the ominre. 
Julian himself, in a confidential letter to his friend and physician, Oribasius 
(Epist. xvii. p. 384), mentions another dream, to which, before the event, he gave 
credit; of a stately tree thrown to the ground, of a small plant striking a deep 
root into the earth. Even in his sleep, the mind of the Ciesar must have been 
agitated by the hopes and fears of hia fortune. Zosimus (,1. iii. p. 155) relates a 
subsequent dream. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 277 

has insinuated itself into a noble mind, it insensibly corrodes 
the vital principles of virtue and veracity. 

To moderate the zeal of his party, to ])rotect the persons 
of his enemies,^'* to defeat and to deR])ise the secret enter- 
prises which were formed against his life and dignity, were 
the cares which employed the first days of the reign of the 
new emperor. Although lie was firmly resolved to main- 
tain the station which lie had assumed, he was still desirous 
of saving his country from the calamities of civil war, of 
declining a contest with the superior forces of Constantius, 
and of preserving his own character from the reproach of 
perfidy and ingratitude. Adorned with the ensigns of mili- 
tary and imperial pomp, Julian showed himself in the field 
of Mars to the soldiers, who glowed with ardent enthusiasm 
in the cause of their pupil, their leader, and their friend. He 
recapitulated their victories, lamented their sufferings, ap- 
plauded their resolution, animated their hopes, and checked 
their impetuosity ; nor did he dismiss the assembly, till he 
had obtained a solemn promise from the troops, that if the 
emperor of the East would subscribe an equitable treaty, 
they would renounce any views of conquest, and satisfy 
themselves with the tranquil possession of the Gallic prov- 
inces. On this foundation he composed, in his own name, and 
in that of the army, a specious and moderate ej)istle,^^ which 
was delivered to Pentad ius, his master of the offices, and to 
his chamberlain Eutherius ; two ambassadors whom he ap- 
pointed to receive the answer, and observe the dispositions 
of Constantius. This epistle is inscribed with the modest 
appellation of Caesar ; but Julian solicits in a peremptory, 
though respectful, manner, the confirmation of the title of 
Augustus. He acknowledges the irregularity of his own 
election, while he justifies, in some measure, the resentment 
and violence of the troops which had extorted his rductant 
consent. He allows the supremacy of his brother Constan- 
tius ; and engages to send him an annual present of Spanish 
horses, to recruit his army with a select number of Barbarian 
youths, and to accept from his choice a Praetorian prajfect 
of ap])roved discretion and fidelity. But he reserves for 
himself the nomination of his other civil and military officers, 

*< The difficult situation of the prince of a. rebellious army is finely described 
by Tacitus (Hist. 1,80-85). ButOtho had much more guilt ajulniuch less abilities 
than .luliau. 

'' To this ostensible epistle he added, says Ammianus, private letters, objur- 
fT.'ito'ias et moidaces. which the historian had not seen, and would not have pub- 
li. bed. Perhaps they never existed. 



278 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

with the troops, the revenue, and the sovereignty of tlic 
provinces beyond tlie Alps. He admonishes the emperor 
to consult the dictates of justice ; to distrust the arts of 
those venal flatterers, who subsist only by the discord of 
princes ; and to embrace the offer of a fair and honorable 
treaty, equally advantageous to the republic and to the 
house of Constantine. In this netrotiation Julian claimed 
no more than he already possessed. The delegated authority 
which he had long exercised over the provinces of Gaul, 
Spain, and Britain, was still obeyed under a name more in- 
dependent and august. The soldiers and the people re- 
joiced in a revolution which was not stained even with the 
blood of the guilty. Florentius was a fugitive ; Lupicinus a 
prisoner. The persons who were disaffected to the new 
government Avere disarmed and secured ; and the vacant 
offices were distributed, according to the recommendation 
of merit, by a prince who despised the intrigues of the 
palace, and the clamors of the soldiers. ^"^ 

The negotiations of peace were accompanied and sup- 
ported by the most vigorous preparations for Avar. The 
army, Avhich Julian held in readiness for immediate action, 
Avas recruited and augmented by the disorders of the times. 
The cruel persecution of the faction of Magncntius had 
filled Gaul Avith numerous bands of outlaws and robbers. 
They cheerfully accepted the offer of a general pardon from 
a prince Avhom they could trust, submitted to the restraints 
of military discipline, and retained only their implncable 
hatred to the person and government of Constantius.^' As 
soon as the season of the year ])ermitted Julian to take the 
field, he appeared at the head of his legions ; threw a bridge 
over the Rhine in the neighborhood of Cleves ; and prepared 
to chastise the perfidy of the Attuarii, a tribe of Franki^, 
Avho presumed tlint they might ravage, AA-ith impunity, the 
frontiers of a diA'ided empire. The difficulty, as Avell as 
glory, of this entci'iM-ise, consisted in a laborious march ; 
and Julian had conquered, as soon as he could ])enetrate 
into a country Avhich former princes had considered as 
inaccessible. After he had given peace to the Barbarians, 
the emperor carefully visited the fortifications along the 

IS See the first transnctions of Lis reign, in Julian. :ul S. P.Q. Atlien. pp. 285, 
28G. Ammianus, xx. 5, 8. J.iban. Urat. Parent, c. 4!l. 50, pp. 273-275. 

17 Liban. Orat. Parent, c. bi), pp. 27r>, 27*;. A stranjje disorder, since it coii- 
linued above seven yoais. In Ihe factions of the (ireck republics, llie exiles 
ainounted to 20,con persons ; and Isocnites assures Pliilip that it would be easicx* 
to raise an nrmv from the vagabonds thaji from the cities. See Hume's E:Tayf , 
torn. i.pp. 426,427. 



OF THE KOMAN EMriRE. 279 

Rhine from Cleves to Basil ; surveyed, witli peculiar atten- 
tion, the territories which he had recovered from the hands 
of the Alemanni, passed through Besan^on,^^ which had 
severely suffered from their fury, and fixed his head-quarters 
at Vienne for the ensuing winter. The barrier of Gaul was 
improved and strengthened with additional fortifications ; 
and Julian entertained some hojies that the Germans, whom 
he had so often vanquished, might, in his absence, be 
restrained by the terror of his name. Yadomair^^ was the 
only prince of the Alemanni whom he esteemed or feared ; 
and while the subtle Barbarian affected to observe the faith of 
treaties, the progress of his arras threatened the state with an 
unseasonable and dangerous war. The policy of Julian con- 
descended to surprise the prince of the Alemanni by his own 
arts : and Vadomair, who, in the character of a friend, had 
incautiously accepted an invitation from the Roman gover- 
nors, was seized in the midst of the entertainment, and sent 
away prisoner into the heart of Spain. Before the Barba- 
rians were recovered from their amazement, the emperor 
appeared in arms on the banks of the Rhine, and, once more 
crossing the river, renewed the deep impressions of terror 
and respect which had been already made by four preced- 
ing expeditions.^*^ 

The ambassadors of Julian had been instructed to 
execute, with the utmost diligence, their important com- 
mission. But, in their passage through Italy and Illyricum, 
they were detained by the tedious and affected delays of 
the provincial governors ; they were conducted by slow 
journeys from Constantinople to Ca3sarea in Cappadocia; 
^ind when at length they were admitted to the i)resence of 
Constantius, they found that he had already conceived, 
from the despatches of his o\^'n ofl[icers, the most unfavorable 
o|>inion of the conduct of Julian, and of the Gallic army. 
The letters were heard with impatience ; the trembling 
messengers were dismissed with indignation and contempt ; 
and the looks, the gestures, the furious language of the 
monarch, expressed the disorder of his soul. The domestic 

18 Julian (Epist. xxxviii. p. 414) gives a short description of Yesontio, or 
Besanyon ; a rocky peninsula almost encircled by the River I)oubs : once a mag- 
nificent city, filled with temples, &c., now reduced to a small town, emerging, 
however, from its ruins. 

'J Vadomair entered into the Roman service, and was promoted from a bar- 
barian kingdom to the military raidc of duke of Plurnicia. He still retained the 
same artful character (Ainrnian. xxi. 4); but, under the reign of Valens, he sig- 
nalized hirf valor in the Armenian war (xxix. 1). 

'^^ Ammian. xx. 10, xxi. ;3, 4. Zosimus, 1. iii. p. 155. 



280 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

connection, wliich miglit have reconciled the brother and 
the Imsbancl of Helena, was recently dissolved by tlie 
death of that princess, whose pregnnncy had been several 
times fruitless, and was at last fatal to herself.-^ The empress 
Eusebia had preserved, to the last moment of her life, the 
warm, and even jealons, affection Avhich she had conceived for 
Julian ; and her mild influence might have moderated the 
resentment of a prince, who, since her death, was abandoned 
to his own passions, and to the arts of his eunuchs. But the 
terror of a foreign invasion obliged him to suspend the pun- 
ishment of a private enemy : he continued his march 
towards the confines of Persia, and thought it sufficient to 
signify the conditions which might entitle Julian and his 
guilty followers to the clemency of their offended sovereign. 
He required that the presumptuous Csesar should expressly 
renounce the appellation and rank of Augustus, which he 
had accepted from the rebels ; that he sliould descend to 
his foi-mer station of a limited and dependent minister ; 
that he should vest the powers of the state and anny in the 
hands of those officers who were appointed by the Imperial 
court ; and that he should trust his safety to the assurances 
of pardon, which were announced by Epictetus, a Gallic 
bishop, and one of the Arian favorites of Constantius. 
Several months were ineffectually consumed in a treaty 
which was negotiated at the distance of three thousand 
miles between Paris and Antioch ; and, as soon as Julian per- 
ceived that his modest and respectful behavior served only to 
irritate the pride of an implacable adversary, he boldly re- 
solved to commit his life and fortune to the chance of a civil 
war. He gave a public and military audience to the qua3stoi' 
Leonas : the haughty epistle of Constantius was read to the 
attentive multitude ; and Julian protested, with the most flat- 
tering deference, that he Avas ready to resign the title of 
Augustus, if he could obtain the consent of those whom he 
acknowledged as the authors of his elevation. The faint 
])roposal was impetuously silenced ; and the acclamations of 
*' Julian Augustus, continue to reign, by the authority of the 
army, of the people, of the republic which you have saved," 

21 Her remains were sent to Rome, and interred near those of her sister Con- 
atantina, in the suburb of the ]"ia Nomcntana. Annnian. xxi. 1. Libanius lias 
composed a verj- weak apology, to justify his hero from a very absurd charge of 
poisoning his wife, and rewarding her physician with his mother's jewels, (See 
the seventh cf seventeen new orations, published at Venice, 1754, from a MS. in 
St. Mark's library, jip, 117-127.) Elpidius, the Prretoriiin pr.-rfect <>f the Kast, lo 
whose evidence the accuser of Julian appeals, is arraigned 1 y Libanius, as 
effeminate and ungrateful ; yet the religion of IClpidius is praised by Jerom (torn. 
t. p. 243), and his humanity by Ammianiis (xxi. 6). 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 281 

thundered at once from every part of the fiekl, and terrified 
the pale ambassador of Constantms. A part of the letter was 
afterwards read, in which the emperor arraigned the ingrati- 
tude of Julian, whom he had invested with the honors of the 
purple ; whom he had educated with so much care and ten- 
derness ; whom he had preserved in his infancy, when he was 
left a helpless orphan. " An orphan ! " interrupted Julian, 
who justified his cause by indulging his passions : "does the 
assassin of my family reproach me that I was left an orphan ? 
He urges me to revenge those injuries which I have long stud- 
ied to forget." The assembly was dismissed ; and Leonas, 
who, with some difficulty, had been protected from the pop- 
ular fury, was sent back to his master with an epistle, in 
which Julian expressed, in a strain of the most vehement 
eloquence, the sentiments of contempt, of hatred, and of 
resentment, which had been supjiressed and imbittered by 
the dissimulation of twenty years. After this message, 
which might be considered as a signal of irreconcilable Avar, 
Julian, who, some weeks before, had celebrated the Christian 
festival of the Epiphany, ^^ made a public declaration that 
he committed the care of his safety to the immortal gods ; 
and thus publicly renounced the religion as well as the 
friendship of Constantius.^^ 

The situation of Julian required a vigorous and immediate 
resolution. Pie had discovered, from intercepted letters, that 
his adversary, sacrificing the interest of the state to that of the 
monarch, had again excited the Barbarians to invade the prov- 
inces of the West. The position of two magazines, one of 
them collected on the banks of the Lake of Constance, the 
other formed at the foot of the Cottian Alj^s, seemed to 
indicate the march of two armies ; and the size of those 
magazines, each of which consisted of six hundred thousand 
quarters of wheat, or rather flour,-^'' was a threatening evi- 

" Feriarum die quern celebraiites mense Januario, Christiaiii Epiphania 
di<tit;int, .progressus in eoriiin eccle«iam, solemuiter iiuniiiie oiato discessit. 
Amniian. xxi. 2. Zoiiaras observes, that it was on Cliristmas day, and his asser- 
tion is not inconsistent ; since the churches of Ejrypt, Asia, and perhaps Ciaul, 
celebrated on the same day (tlie sixth of January) tlie nativity and tlie baptism 
of their Saviour. The Romans, aa ignorant as their brethren of the leal date of 
his birth, lixed the solemn lestival to tlie 25th of December, the Brtimalia, or 
winter solstice, when the Pagans annually celebrated the birth of the sun. See 
Binghan^/s Antiquities of the Christian Church, 1. xx. c. 4, and Beausobre, Hist. 
Critique du Manicheisme, torn. ii. pp. Gf;0-7f)0. 

2^ The public and secret negotiations between Constantiusand Julian must be 
extracted, with some caution, from Julian himself (Orat. ad S. P. Q,. Ailum. p. 
'280). J.ibanius (Orat. I'arent, c. ol, p. LiTG), Animianus (xx. 9), Zoslmus (1. ill. p. 
154), and even Zonaras (iom. ii. xiii. ])p. l:(), 21. 22), who, on this occasion, appears 
to have possessed and usetl f-ome valuabh! materials. 

24 Three liundred myriads, or thiee millions of medimni, a corn measure 



282 THE DECLINE AXD FALL. 

dence of the strength and numbers of the enemy who pre- 
pared to surround him. But the Imperial legions were still 
in their distant quarters of xVsia; the Danube was feebly 
guarded ; and if Julian could occupy, 1 a sudden incursion, 
the important provinces of lUyricum, lie might expect that 
a people of soldiers would resort to his standard, and that 
tlie rich mines of gold and silver would contribute to the 
expenses of the civil war. lie proposed this bold enter- 
prise to the assembly of the soldiers ; inspired them with a 
just confidence in their general, and in themselves; and ex- 
horted them to maintain their reputation of being terrible 
to the enemy, moderate to their fellow-citizens, and obedient 
to their ofJcers. His spirited discourse was received with 
the loudest acclamations, and the same troops which had 
taken up arms against Constantius, when he summoned 
them to leave Gaul, now declared with alacrity, that they 
would follow Julian to the farthest extremities of Europe or 
Asia. The oath of fidelity was administered ; and the sol- 
diers, clashing their shields, and pointing their drawn 
swords to their throats, devoted themselves, with horrid 
imprecations, to the service of a leader whom they cele- 
brated as the deliverer of Gaul and the conqueror of the Ger- 
mans.-^ This solemn engagement, which seemed to be dic- 
tated by affeiJtion rather than by duty, was singly opposed 
by Kebridius, who had been admitted to the office of 
Praetorian prcefect. That faithful minister, alone and unas- 
sisted, asserted the rights of Constantius in the midst of an 
armed and angry multitude, to Avhose fury he had almost 
fallen an honorable, but useless sacrifice. After losing one 
of his hands by the stroke of a sword, he embraced the knees 
of the prince Avdiom he had offended. Julian covered the 
prasfect with his Imperial mantle, and, protecting him from 
the zeal of his followers, dismissed him to his own house, 
with less respect than was perhaps due to the virtue of an 
enemv.-^ The hi^-h office of Nebridius was bestowed on 
Sallust; and the provinces of Gaul, which were now deliv- 
ered from the intolerable oppression of taxes, enjoyed the 
mild and equitable administration of the friend of Julian, 

familiar to the Athenians, and whi^h contained six Roman morJii. Julian explains, 
like a soldier and a statesman, the danj^er of his situation, and the necessity and 
advantages of an offensive war, ad S. P. Q. Athen. pp. '2H>, 287.) 

2j See his oration, and Ihe behavior of the troops, in Ammian. xxi. 5. 

-'' He steiiily refused his hand to the suppliant priTfoct. whom he sent into 
Tuscany. (Anvnian. xxi. .">.) Libamus, with -avncre fury insults Xebvidius, ap- 
pl.iuds the soldiers, and almost censures the liumaiuty of Juliau, (Orat. Parent. 
c. 5o, p. 27«.) 



OF THE r.OMAN EMPIRE. 283 

who was permitted to practice tliose virtues which he liacl 
instilled into the mind of his pupil. '^ 

The hopes of Julian depended mucli less on the number 
of his troops, than on the celerity of liis motions. In the 
execution of a daring enterprise, lie availed liimself of every 
precaution, as far as prudence could suggest ; and where 
ju'udence could no longer accompany his steps, he trusted 
the event to valor and to fortune. In the neighborhood of 
Basil he assembled and divided his army.-^ One body, Avhich 
consisted of ten thousand men, Avas directed under the com- 
mand of Xevitta, generid of the cavalry, to advance through 
the midland parts of Rha^tia and Noricum. A similar divis- 
ion of troops, under the orders of Jovius and Jovinus, pre- 
pared to follow tlie oblique course of the highways, through 
the Alps and the northern confines of Italy. The instruc- 
tions to the generals were conceived with energy and pre- 
cision : to liasten their march in close and compact columns, 
which, according to the disposition of the ground, might 
readily be changed into any order of battle; to secure them- 
selves against the surprises of the night by strong posts and 
vigilant guards ; to ])revent resistance by their unexpected 
arrival; to elude examination by their sudden departure; 
to spread the opinion of their strength, and the terror of his 
name ; and to join their sovereign under the walls of Sir- 
mium. For himself Julian had reserved a more difficult 
and extraordinary ]3art. He selected three thousand brave 
and actiAc volunteers, resolved, like their leader, to cast be- 
hind them every hope of a retreat : at the head of this faith- 
ful band, he fearlessly i)lunged into the recesses of the Mar- 
cian, or Black Forei-t, which conceals the soui-ces of the 
Danube;-^ and, for many days, the fate of Julian was un- 
known to the world. The secrecy of his march, his dili- 
gence, and vigor, surmounted every obstacle ; he forced his 
way over mountains and morasses, occupied the bi'idges or 
swam the rivers, pursued his direct course,^*^ without reflect- 
or Ammian. xxi. 8. In this promotion Julian obeyed tlio law which he pub- 
licly imposed on himself. Neque civilis (luiscjiium judex iier milituris rector, alio 
quodam prfeter merita suffragante, ad potiorem veniat gradum. (Amn)ian. xx. 
5.) Absence did not weaken his regard for Sallust, with whose name (A. L). :3G3) 
he honored tlie consulship. 

2-^ Ammianus (xxi. 8) ascribes the same practice, and the same motive, to 
Alexander the Great and oher skilful generals. 

-'■' This wood was n, ]iarl of tc great llercynian forest, which, in the time of 
Caesar, stretched away from the country of the l\auraci(nasil) into the boundless 
regions of the north. See riuvcr, Gennnnia Antiqua. 1. iij. c. 47. 

'•^'> Compaio Libanius, Orat. Parent, c. r.?., pp. 27>^, VTi), with Gregory Xazianzen, 
Orat. iii. p. 68. Even the saint admires the speed and secrecy of this inarch. A 



284 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

ing whether he traversed the territory of the Romans, or oi 
the Barbarians, and at length emerged, between Ratisbon 
and Vienna, at the place where he designed to embark his 
troops on the Danube. By a well-concerted stratagem, he 
seized a fleet of light brigantines,^^ as it lay at anchor ; se- 
cured a supply of coarse provisions sufficient to satisfy the 
indelicate, but voracious, appetite of a Gallic army ; and 
boldly committed himself to tlie stream of the Danube. 
The labors of his mariners, who plied their oars with inces- 
sant diligence, and the steady continuance of a favorable 
wind, carried his fleet above seven hundred miles in eleven 
days ; ^^ and he had already disembarked his troops at Bono- 
nia,* only ninet'Cen miles from Sirmium, before his enemies 
could receive any certain intelligence that he had left the 
banks of the Rhine. In the course of this long and rapid 
navigation, the mind of Julian was fixed on the object of 
his enterprise ; and though he accepted the deputations of 
some cities, which hastened to claim the merit of an early 
submission, he passed before the hostile stations, which were 
placed along the river, without indulging the temptation of 
sio-nalizinof a useless and ill-timed valor. The banks of the 
Danube were crowded on either side with spectators, wlio 
gazed on the military pomp, anticipated the importance of 
the event, and diffused through the adjacent country the 
fame of a young hero, who advanced with more than mor- 
tal speed at the head of the innumerable forces of the West. 
Lucilian, who, with the rank of general of the cavalry, com- 
manded the military powers of Illyricum, was alarmed and 
perplexed by the doubtful reports, which he could neither 
reject nor believe. He had taken some slow and irresolute 
measures for the purpose of collecting Ids troops, when 
he was surprised by Dagalaiphus, an active officer, whom 

modern divine might apply to the progress of Julian the lines which were orig- 
inally designed for another apostate : — 

So eagerly the fiend, 

O'er bog, or steep, tlirotigh si rait, rough, dense, or rare, 
With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way, 
And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies. 

31 In that interval the Nofitia places two or three fleets, the Laiiriaconsia 
(at Lauriacum or Lorch), the Arlapensis, the Maginensis ; and mejitions tivo 
legions, or cohorts, of Libernarii. who should be a sort of marines. Sect. Iviii. 
edit. Labb. 

a2 Zosimus alone (1. iii. p. 156) has specified this interesting circumstance. 
Mamertinus (in Panegyr. Vet. xi. R, 7. 8^, who accompanied Julian. :is count of 
the saci-ed largesses, describes this voyage in a florid and picturesque manner, 
challenges Triptolemus and the Argonauts of Greece, &c. 



* Banostar. 3Iannerf.—'M.. 



OF THE R0MA:N^ EMPIRE. 285 

Julian, as soon as he landed at Bononia, had pushed for- 
Avards with some light infantry. The captive general, un- 
certain of his life or death, was hastily thrown upon a horse, 
and conducted to the presence of Julian ; who kindly raised 
him from the ground, and dispelled the terror and amaze- 
ment Avhich seemed to stupefy his faculties. But Lucilian 
had no sooner recovered his spirits, than he betrayed his 
want of discretion, by presuming to admonish his conqueror 
that he had rashly ventured, with a handful of men, to expose 
his person in the midst of his enemies. " Reserve for your mas- 
ter Constantius these timid remonstrances," replied Julian, 
w^ith a smile of contempt : " when I gave you my purple to 
kiss, I received you not as a counsellor, but as a suppliant." 
Conscious that success alone could justify his attempt, and 
that boldness only could command success, he instantly 
advanced, at the liead of three thousand soldiers, to attack the 
strongest and most populous city of the Illyrian provinces. 
As lie entered the long suburb of Sirmium, he was received 
by the joyful acclamations of the army and people; who, 
crowned with flowers, and holding lighted tapers in their 
hands, conducted their acknowledged sovereign to his Impe- 
rial residence. Two days were devoted to the public joy, 
which was celebrated by the games of the Circus ; but, early 
on the morning of the third day, Julian marched to occupy 
the narrow pass of Succi, in the defiles of Mount Iloemus ; 
which, almost in the midway between Sirmium and Con- 
stantinople, separates the provinces of Thrace and Dacia, by 
an abrupt descent towards the former, and a gentle declivity 
on tlie side of the latter.^^ The defence of this important 
post was intrusted to the brave Nevitta ; who, as well as the 
generals of the Italian division, successfully executed the 
plan of the march and junction which their master had so 
ably conceived.^* 

The homage which Julian obtained, from the fears or the 
inclination of the peoj)le, extended far beyond the immediate 
effect of his arms.^^ The praefectures of Italy and Illyricum 
were administered by Taurus and Florentius, w^ho united 

3'' The description of Ammianus, which roiglit be supported by collateral evi- 
dence, ascertains the precise situation of the Ant/ustife Succornin, or passes of 
Succi. M. d'Anville, from tlie trilling resemblance of names, has j)laced them 
between Sardica and Kaissus. For my own justification, I am obliged to men- 
tion the onli/ error which I have discovei'ed in the maps or writings of that ad- 
mirable geographer. 

^ Whatever circumstances we may borrow elsewhere, Ammianus (xxi. 8, 9, 
10) still supplies the series of the narrative. 

^ Ammian. xxi. 9, 10. Libauius, Orat. Parent, c.54, pp. 279, 280, Zosimus, 1. 
iii. pp. 150, 157. 



286 THE DECLINE AXD FALL. 

that important office witli the vain honors of the consulsliip; 
and, as those magistrates had retired with ])recipitation to 
the court of Asia, Julian, who could not always restrain 
tlie levity of his temper, stigmatized their flight by adding, 
in all the Acts of the Year, tlie epitliet of fur/itive to the 
names of the two consuls. The provinces which had been 
deserted by their first magistrates acknowledged the author- 
ity of an emperor, who, conciliating the qualities of a soldier 
with those of a philoso]:>her, was equally admired in the 
camps of the Danube and in the cities of Greece. From his 
palace, or, more properly, from his head-quarters of Sirmium 
and Naissus, he distributed, to the principal cities of the 
empire, a labored apology for his own conduct ; published 
the secret despatches of Constantius ; and solicited the judg- 
ment of mankind between two competitors, the one of whom 
had expelled, and the other had invited, the Barbarians.^^ 
Julian, whose mind was dee])ly wounded by the re})roach of 
ingratitude, aspired to maintain, by argument as well as by 
arms, the superior merits of his cause ; and to excel, not 
only in the arts of war, but in those of composition. His 
epistle to the senate and people of Athens ^^ seems to have 
been dictated by an elegant enthusiasm ; which prompted 
him to submit his actions and his motives to the degenerate 
Athenians of his own times, with the same humble deference 
as if he had been ])leading, in the days of Aristides, before 
the tribunal of the Areopagus. His application to the senate 
of Rome, which was still permitted to bestow the titles of 
Imperial power, was agreeable to the forms of the expiring 
republic. An assembly was summoned by Tertullus, pra^- 
fect of the city; the epistle of Julian was read ; and, as he 
appeared to be master of Italy, his claims were admitted 
wdthout a dissenting voice. His oblique censure of the inno- 
vations of Constantine, and his passionate invective against 
the vices of Constantius, were heard with less satisfaction ; 
and the senate, as if Julian had been present, unanimously 

36 Julian (ad S. P. Q. Athen. p. 286) positively asserts, that he intercepted the 
letters of Constantius to the Barbarians ; and Libanius as positively atiirms, that 
he read tluMU on his march to the troops and the cities. Yet Animianus (xxi. 4) 
expresses himself \\\\\\ cool and candid hesitation, Afnmce sofiiis admittenda est 
tides. He specifies, however, an intercepted letter from Vadomair to Constantius, 
which supposes an intimate correspondence between them ; " Ciesar tuns disci- 
plinam non habet." 

■'*'" Zosimus mentions his epistles to the Athenians, the Corinthians, and the 
Lacedicmonians. The substance was probabljMhe same, though the address was 
properly varied. Ihe epistle to the Athenians is still extant (pp. 268-287), and 
Las afforded much valunble information. It deserves the praises of the Abb6 
de la Bleterie (I'ref. it I'Histoire de Jovien, pp. 24, 25), and is one of the best 
manifestoes to be found in any language. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 287 

exclaimed, "Respect, we beseech yon, tlie author of your 
own fortune." ^'^ An artful expression, Avhich, according to 
the chance of war, might be differently explained; as a 
manly reproof of the ingratitude of the usurper, or as a flat- 
tering confession, that a single act of such benefit to the 
state ouglit to atone for all the failings of Constantius. 

The intelligence of the march and rnpid progress of 
Julian was speedily transmitted to his rival, who, by the 
retreat of Sapor, had obtained some respite from the Per- 
sian war. Disofuisins: the ancruish of his soul under the 
semblance of contempt, Constantius professed his intention 
of returning into Europe, and of giving chase to Julian ; 
for he never spoke of his military expedition in any other 
light than that of a hunting party.^^ In the camp of Hie- 
rapolis, in Syria, he communicated this design to his army ; 
slightly mentioned tlie guilt and rashness of the Caesar; and 
ventured to assure them, that if the mutineers of Gaul pre- 
sumed to meet them in the field, they would be unable to 
sustain the fire of their eyes, and the irresistible weight of 
their shout of onset. The s})eech of the emperor was re- 
ceived with military applause, and Theodotus, the president 
of the council of Hierapolis, requested, with tears of adu- 
lation, that his city might be adorned with the head of the 
vanquislied rebel.^^ A chosen detachment was despatched 
away in post-wagons, to secure, if it were yet possible, the 
pass of Succi ; the recruits, the horses, the arms, and the 
magazines, which had been prepared against Sapor, were 
appropriated to the service of the civil war ; and the do- 
mestic victories of Constantius inspired his partisans with the 
most sanguine assurances of success. The notary Gauden- 
tius had occupied in his name the provinces of Africa ; the 
subsistence of Rome was intercepted ; and the distress of 
Julian was increased by an unexpected event, which might 
have been productive of fatal consequences. Julian had 
received the submission of two legions and a cohort of 
archers, who Avere stationed at Sirmium ; but he suspected 
with reason, the fidelity of those troops which had been dis- 

38 Aucforl tun rererentinm rogamna. Ammian. xxi. 10. It is amusing enough 
to observe the secret contiicls of the senate between flattery and fear. See Tacit. 
Hist. i. 85. 

39 Tanquam venaticiam praedam cappret : hoc enim ad lenienduni suorum me- 
tuni subinde praedioabat. Anuuiaii. xxii. 7. • 

4 ' See the speech and preparations in Ammianus, xxi. 13. The \\\e Theodotus 
afterwards implored and obtained liis pardon from the merciful conqueror, who 
signified his wish of diminishing his enemies and increasing the numbers of his 
friends (xxii. 14> 



288 THE DECLIXE AXD FALL 

tinguisliecl by the emperor ; and it was thought expedient, 
under tlie pretence of the exposed stale of the Gallic 
frontier, to dismiss tliem from tlie most important scene of 
action. They advanced, with reluctance, as far as the con- 
fines of Italy ; but as they dreaded the length of the way, 
and the savage fierceness of the Germans, they resolved, by 
the instigation of one of their tribunes, to halt at Aquiieia, 
and to erect the banners of Constantius on the walls of that 
impregnable city. The vigilance of Julian perceived at 
once the extent of the mischief, and the necessity of ap- 
plying an immediate remedy. By his order, Jovinus led 
back a part of the army into Italy ; and the siege of Aquiieia 
was formed with diligence, and prosecuted with vigor. But 
the legionaries, who seemed to have rejected the yoke of 
discipline, conducted the defence of the place with skill and 
perseverance ; invited the rest of Italy to imitate the ex- 
ample of their courage and loyalty; and threatened the 
retreat of Julian, if he should be forced to yield to the su- 
perior numbers of the armies of the East.*^ 

But the humanity of Julian was preserved from the 
cruel alternative which he pathetically laments, of destroying 
or of being himself destroyed : and the seasonable death of 
Constantius delivered the Roman empire from the calami- 
ties of civil war. The apj^roach of winter could not detain 
the monarch at Antioch ; and his favorites durst not opjDose 
his impatient desire of revenge. A slight fever, which was 
perhaps occasioned by the agitation of his spirits, was in- 
creased by the fatigues of the journey; and Constantius 
was obliged to halt at the little town of Mopsucrene, twelve 
miles beyond Tarsus, where he expired, after a short illness, 
in the forty-fifth year of his age, and the twenty-fourth of 
his reign.'*'' His genuine character, which w^as composed 

*^ Ammian. xxi. 7, 11, 12. He seems to describe with superfluous labor, the 
operations of the siege of Aquiieia, which, on this occasion, maintained its im- 
pregnable fame. Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. iii. p. 68) ascribes this accidental re- 
volt to the wisdom of Constantius, whose assured victory he announces with 
some appearance of truth. Constantio quern credebat procul dubio fore victo- 
rem : nemo enini omnium tunc ab hac coustauti sententia discrepebat. Ammian. 
xxi. 7. 

*'- His death and character are faithfully delineated by Ammianus (xxi. 14, 15, 
16); and we are authorized to despise .ind detest the foolish calumny of Gregorj^, 
(Orat. iii. p. 6b), who accuses Julian of contriving the death of his benefactor. 
The private repentance of the emperor, that he had spared and promoted Julian 
(p. 60, and Orat. xxi. p. 389), is not improbable in itself, nor incompatible with 
the public verbal testament which prudential considerations might dictate in the 
last moments of his life.* 

* Wagner thinks this sudden change of sentiment altogether a fiction of the 
attendant courtiers and chiefs of the army, who up to this time had been hostile 
to Julian. Note iu loco Ammiau.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE 289 

of pride and weakness, of superstition and cruelty, has been 
fully displayed in the preceding narrative of civil and ec- 
clesiastical events. The long abuse of power rendered him 
a considerable object in the eyes of his contemporaries; but 
as personal merit can alone deserve the notice of posterity, 
the last of the sons of Constantine may be dismissed from 
the world, with tlie remark, that he inherited tlie defects, 
without the abilities of his father. Before Constantius ex- 
pired, he is said to have named Julian for his successor; 
nor does it seem improbable, that his anxious concern for 
the fate of a young and tender wife, whom lie left with 
child, may have prevailed, in his last moments, over the 
harsher passions of hatred and revenge. Eusebius, and his 
guilty associates, made a faint attemj^t to prolong the reign 
of the eunuchs, by the election of another emperor ; but 
their intrigues were rejected witli disdain, by an army 
which now abhorred the thought of civil discord ; and two 
officers of rank were instantly despatched, to assure Julian, 
that every sword in the empire would be drawn for his 
service. The military designs of that prince, who had 
formed three different attacks against Thrace, were pre- 
vented by this fortunate event. Without shedding the blood 
of his fellow-citizens, he escaped the dangers of a doubtful 
conflict, and acquired the advantages of a complete victory. 
Impatient to visit the place of his birth, and the new capital 
of the empire, he advanced from Naissus through the moun- 
tains of Hagmus, and the cities of Thrace. When he reached 
Ileraclea, at the distance of sixty miles, all Constantinople 
was poured forth to receive him, and he made his triumi:)hal 
entry amidst the dutiful acclamations of the soldiers, the 
people, and the senate. An innumerable multitude pressed 
around him with eager respect, and were perliaps disap- 
pointed when they beheld the small stature and simple garb 
of a hero, whose unexperienced youth had vanquished tlie 
Barbarians of Germany, and who had now traversed, in a 
successful career, the whole continent of Europe, from the 
shores of the Atlantic to those of the Bosi)horus.^^ A few 
days afterwards, when the remains of the deceased emjDeror 
were landed in the harbor, the subjects of Julian applauded 
the real or affected humanity of their sovereign. On foot, 
without his diadem, and clothed in a mourning habit, he 

*3 Tn describing the triumph of Julian, Ammianus (xxii. 1, 2) assumes the 
lofty tone of an orator or poet; while Libanius (Orat. Parent, c.56, p. 'J.S1) sinks 
to the grave simplicity of an historian. 

Vol. IL— 19 



290 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

accompanied the funeral as far as the church of the Holy 
Apostles, where the body was deposited : and if these marks 
of respect may be interpreted as a selfish tribute to the birth 
and dignity of his Imperial kinsman, tlie tears of Julian 
professed to the world that he had forgot the injuries, and 
remembered only the obligations, Avhich he had received 
from Constantius.^^ As soon as the legions of Aquileia 
were assured of the death of the emperor, they opened the 
gates of the city, and, by the sacrifice of their guilty leaders, 
obtained an easy pardon from the prudence or lenity of 
Julian ; who, in the thirty-second year of his age, acquired 
the undisputed possession of the Roman empire.^^ 

Pliilosophy had instructed Julian to compare the advan- 
tages of action and retirement ; but the elevation of his 
birth, and the accidents of his life, never allowed him the 
freedom of choice. He might perhaps sincerely have pre- 
ferred the groves of the academy, and the society of Athens ; 
but he was constrained, at first by ihe will, and afterwards 
by the injustice, of Constantius, to expose his person and 
fame to the dangers of Imperial greatness ; and to make him- 
self accountable to the world, and to posterity, for the hap- 
piness of millions.^^ Julian recollected with terror the obser- 
vation of his master Plato,^^ that the government of our 
flocks and herds is always committed to beings of a superior 
species ; and that the conduct of nations requires and de- 
serves the celestial powers of the gods or of the genii. From 
this principle he justly concluded, that the man who presTimes 
to reign, should aspire to the perfection of the divine nature ; 
that he should purify his soul from her mortal and terrestrial 
part ; that he should extinguish his appetites, enlighten his 
uaderstanding, regulate his passions, and subdue the wild 

** Tlie funeral of Constantius is described by Animianus (xxi, 16), Gregory Ka- 
zianzen (Orat. iv. p. ll!»), Mamertinus (in Panegyr. Vet. xi. 27), Libaniiis (Orat. 
Parent, c. Ivi. p, 283), and Pbilostorgius (.1. vi. c, 6, with Godefroy's JJissertations, 
p. 2(J5). These writers, and their followers. Pagans, Catholics, Ariang, beheld 
with very ditferent eyes both the dead and the living emperor. 

*^ The day an«l year of the birth of Julian are not perlectly ascertained. ' The 
day is probably the sixth of November, and the year must be either 331 or 332. 
Tillemont, Hist, des Empereurs, torn. iv. p.693. I)ucange, Fam. Byzantiu. p. 50. 
I have preferred the earlier date. 

*« Julian himself (pp. 253-267) has expressed these philosophical ideas with 
much eloquence and some affectation, in a very elaborate epistle to Themistius. 
The Abbe de la Bleteiie (tom. ii. pp. H6-193), who h.-is given an elegant transla- 
tion, is inclined to believe that it was the celebrated Themistius, whose oratiou9 
are still extant. • 

*" Julian, ad Themist. p. 258. Petavius (not. p. 95) observes that this passage 
is taken from the fourth book De Legibus ; but either Julian quoted from mem- 
ory, or his MSS. were ditferent from ours. Xeuophou opens the Cyropsedia with 
j^ siiqilar retiectioi^ 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 291 

beast, wljicli, according to the lively metaphor of Aristotle,'*^ 
seldom fails to ascend the throne of a despot. The throne 
of Julian, which the death of Constantius fixed on an inde- 
pendent basis, was the seat of reason, of virtue, and perhaps 
of vanity. lie despised the honors, renounced the pleasures, 
and discharged with incessant diligence the duties, of his 
exalted station ; and there were few among his subjects who 
Avould have consented to relieve him from the weight of the 
diadem, had they been obliged to submit their time and their 
actions to the rigorous laws which their philosophic emperor 
imposed on himself. One of his most intimate friends,^^ who 
had often shared the frugal simplicity of his table, has re- 
marked, that his light and sparing diet (which was usually of 
the vegetable kiild) left his mind and body always free and 
active, for the various and important business of an author, 
a pontiff, a magistrate, a general, and a prince. In one and 
the same day, he gave audience to several ambassadors, and 
wrote, or dictated, a great number of letters to his generals, 
his civil magistrates, his private friends, and the different 
cities of his dominions. He listened to the memorials which 
liad been received, considered the sul)ject of the petitions, 
and signified his intentions more rapidly than they couhi be 
taken in short-hand by the diligence of his secretaries. He 
possessed such flexibility of thought and such firmness of 
attention, that he could employ his hand to write, his ear to 
listen, and his voice to dictate ; and ])ursuG at once three 
se^ eral trains of ideas without liesitation, and without error. 
While his ministers reposed, the prince flew with agility 
from one labor to another, and, after a hasty dinner, retired 
into his library, till the public business, which he had a]> 
pointed for the evening, summoned him to interrupt the 
prosecution of his studies. The supper of the emperor was 
still less substantial than the former meal ; his sleej) was 
never clouded by the fumes of indigestion ; and except in 
the short interval of a marriage, which was the effect of 
policy rather than love, the chaste Julian never shared his bed 
with a female companion.^*' He was soon awakened by the 

*^ ' O 6c- av9pu}7Tov Kekevoiv apxeiv, TrpocrTiOiqcrL (cai OijpLov. Aristot. ap* Julian p. 
201. The MS. of Vossiua, inieatislied vvllh the Bingle beast, aitords the strongor 
reading of 0r,pLa, which the experience oL' d.spotihm may ■warrant. 

*-» Libaniua (Orat. Parentalin, e. ixxxiv. Ixxxv. pp. 310, 311. 312; has given this 
interesting detail of the private life of Julian. He himself (in ]\1isoi)ogon, p. 
3.50) mentions his vegetable diet, and upbraids the gross and sensual appetite of 
the people of Antiocli. 

^> Lectulus * * * Vestalium toris purior, is the praise which Mamertinus 
(Panegyr. Vet. xi. 13) addresses to Julian himself. Libanius afnrms, in sober 
peremptory language, that Julian never knew a woman before his marriage, or 



292 THE DECLII^E AND 

entrance of fresh secretaries, who had slept the preceding 
day ; and liis servants were obliged to wait alternately, while 
their indefatigable master allowed himself scarcely any other 
refreshment than the change of occupations. The predeces- 
sors of Julian, his uncle, his brother, and his cousin, indulged 
their puerile taste for the games of the Circus, under the 
specious pretence of complying with the inclinations of tlie 
people ; and they frequently remained the greatest part of 
the day as idle spectators, and as a part of the splendid 
spectacle, until the ordinary round of twenty-four races ^ 
was completely finished. On solemn festivals, Julian, who 
felt and professed an unfashionable dislike to these frivolous 
amusements, condescended to appear in the Circus ; and after 
bestowing a careless glance on five or six of the races, he 
hastily withdrew with the impatience of a philosopher, who 
considered every moment as lost that was not devoted to the 
advantage of the public or the improvement of his own 
mind.^^ By this avarice of time, he seemed to protract the 
short duration of his reign ; and if the dates were less secure- 
ly ascertained, we should refuse to believe, that only sixteen 
months elapsed between the death of Constantius and the 
departure of his successor for the Persian w^ar. The actions 
of Julian can only be preserved by the care of the historian ; 
but the portion of his voluminous writings which is still ex- 
tant, remains as a monument of the application, as well as 
of the genius, of the emperor. The Misopogon, the Caesars, 
several of his orations, and his elaborate work against the 
Christian religion, were composed in the long nights of the 
two winters, the former of which he j^assed at Constanti- 
nople, and the latter at Antioch. 

The reformation of the Imj^erial court was one of the first 

after the death of his wife (Orat. Parent, c. Ixxxviii. p. 313. The chastity of 
Julian is coiitirmed by tlie impartial testimony of Ammiauus (xxv. 4), and the 
partial silence of the Christians. Yet Julian ironically urges the reproach of the 
people of Antioch, that he a/mo.s'/ rt/i/Jays (oj? eiTLtrav, in INlisopogon, p. 345) lay 
alone. This suspicious expression is explained by the Abbe de la Bleterie (Hist. 
de Jovien, torn. ii. pp. 103-109) with candor and ingenuity. 

^1 See Salmasius ad Sueton. in Claud, c. xxi. A twenty-fifth race, or miftsus, 
was added, to complete the number of one hundred chariots, four of which, the 
four colors, started each heat. 

Centum quadrijugos agitabo ad flumina cuitus. 

It appears, that they ran five or seven times round the Afefa (Sueton. in Domi- 
tian.c. 4),and (^from the measure of the Circus Muxiuuis at Rome, the Hippo- 
drome at Constantinople, &c.) it might be about a four-mile course. 

C2 Julian, in Misopogon, p. .340. Julius Caesar had offended the Koman people 
by reading his despatches dr.ring the actual race. Augustus indulged their taste, 
or his own, by his constant attention to the important business of the Circus, for 
which he professed the warmest inclination. Sueton. in August, c. xlv. 



OF THE komAx empire. 293 

and most necessary acts of the government of Julian.^* 
Soon after liis entrance into the palace of Constantinople, he 
had occasion for the service of a barber. An officer, magniii- 
cently dressed, immediately presented himself. "It is a 
barber," exclaimed the }>rince, with affected surprise, "that 
I want, and not a receiver-gener;d of the finances."^'* He 
questioned the man concerning the profits of his emj)loyment ; 
and was infoi-med, that besides a lai-ge salary, and some 
valuable perquisites, he enjoyed a daily allowance for twenty 
servants, and as many liorses. A thousand barbers, a thou- 
sand cup-bearers, a thousand cooks, were distributed in the 
several offices of luxury ; and tlie number of eunuchs could 
be compared only with the insects of a summer's day.^^ The 
monarch who resigned to his subjects the superiority of merit 
and virtue, was distinguished by the oppressive magnificence 
of Ills dress, his table, his buildings, and his train. The stately 
palaces erected by Constantino and his sons, were decorated 
with many colored marbles, and ornaments of massy gold. 
The most exquisite dainties were procured, to gratify their 
pride, rather than their taste ; birds of the most distant cli- 
nmtes, fish from the most remote seas, fruits out of their 
natural season, Avinter roses, and summer snows.^^ The 
domestic crowd of the palace surpassed the expense of the 
legions; yet the smallest part of this costly multitude was 
subservient to the use, or even to the splendor, of the throne. 
The monarch was disgraced, and the people was injured, by 
the creation and sale of an infinite number of obscure, and 
even titular employments ; and the most worthless of man- 
kind might purchase the ]>rivilege of being maintained, with- 
out the necessity of labor from the public revenue. The 
waste of an enormous household, the increase of fees and 
perquisities, which were soon claimed as a lawful debt, and 
the bribes which they extorted from those who feared their 
enmity, or solicited their favor, suddenly enriched these 

•■•^ The reformation of the palace is described by Ammianns (xxii. 4),LibaniMS, 
Orat. (Parent, c. Ixii. p. 288, &c.), INIainertijuis (in Panegyr, Vet. xi. 11), Socrates 
(1. iii. c. 1.) and Zonaras (torn. ii. 1. xiii. i^. 24). 

''* E:^o non ratimia/em jussi sed tonsorem acoiri. Zoiiaras uses the less natnral 
ima^e ot a, senator. Yet an ollicer of the finances, who was satiated with wealtli, 
might desire and obtain the lionors of the senate. 

"•^ MayctpOLis fjikf \(.Alov<;, KOvpia<; 6e ovk cAcittou?, oivovoou? 6 J TrAet'ou?, cr/J-rivrf 
TpaTr€<^OTToiC}i', evi'ovxov<; VTTfp rd? ixvia<; -rrapa. To'i(; TroLnerrLV eu ^ot, are the original 
words of Lil)anius, which I have faithfully quoted, lest I should be suspected of 
magnifying the abuses of the royal household. 

'•"' The expressions (>f IMamertinns are lively and forcible. Qnin etiam pran- 
diorum etcainarumelaboratas magnitudines Komanusi>opulus sensit ; cum qiiaisi- 
tissimse dapea non gustu sed difhcultatibus {estimarentur ; miracula avium, 
longiiiqui maris pisces, alieni temporis poma, ajstivEe uives, hibenise rosae. 



294 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

haughty menials. They abused their fortune, without con- 
sidering their past, or tlieir future, condition ; and their 
rapine and venality could be equalled only by the extrav- 
agance of their dissipations. Their silken robes were em- 
broidered with gold, their tables were served with delicacy 
and pi-ofusion ; the houses which they built for their own use, 
would have covered the farm of an ancient consul ; and the 
most honorable citizens were oblio^ed to dismount from their 
horses, and respectfully to salute a eunuch whom they met on 
the public highway. The luxury of the palace excited the 
contempt and indignation of Julian, who usually slept on 
the ground, who yielded with reluctance to the indispensable 
calls of nature ; and who placed his vanity, not in emulating, 
but in despising, the pomp of royalty. 

By the total extirpation of a mischief which was mag- 
nified even beyond its real extent, he was impatient to relieve 
the distress, and to appease the murmurs of the people ; who 
support with less uneasiness the weight of taxes, if they are 
convinced that the fruits of their industry are appropriated 
to the service of tliC state. But in the execution of this sal- 
utary work, Julian is accused of proceeding with too much 
haste and inconsiderate severity. By a single edict, lie re- 
duced the palace of Constantinople to an immense desert, 
and dismissed with ignominy the whole train of slaves and 
dependants,^^ without providing any just, or at least benev- 
olent, exceptions, for the age, the services, or the poverty, 
of the faithful domestics of the Imperial family. Such in- 
deed was the temper of Julian, who seldom recollected the 
fundamental maxim of Aristotle, that true virtue is placed 
at an equal distance betwcv n the opjDOsite vices. The splen- 
did and effeminate dress of the Asiatics, the curls and paint, 
the collars and bracelets, which had appeared so ridiculous 
in the person of Constantine, were consistently rejected by 
his philosophic successor. But Avith the fopperies, Julian 
affected to renounce the decencies of dress; and seemed to 
value himself for his neglect of the laws of cleanliness. In a 
satirical performance, which was designed for the public eye, 
the emperor descants with pleasure, and even with pride, on 
the length of his nails, and the inky blackness of his hands ; 
protests, that although the greatest part of his body was 
covered with hair, the use of the razor was confined to his 

57 Yet Julian himself was accused of bestowing whole towns on the eunuchs 
(Orat. vii. against Polyclct. pp. 117-127). Libauius contents himself with a cold, 
but positive denial of the fact, which seems indeed to belong more properly to 
Constantius. This cliarge, however may allude to some unknown circumstance. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. • 295 

head alone ; and celebrates, with visible complacency, the 
shaggy and populous^^ beni-d which he fondly cherished, 
after the example of the philosophers of Greece. Had Julian 
consulted tlie sim])le dictates of reason, the llist magistrate 
of the Romans would have scorned the affectation of Diog- 
enes, as well as that of Darius. 

But tlie work of public reformation would have remained 
imperfect, if Julian had only corrected the abuses, without 
punishing the crimes, of his predecessor's reign. "We are 
now delivered," says he, in a familiar letter to one of his 
intimate friends, "we are now surprisingly delivered from 
the voracious jaws of the Hydra.^^ I do not mean to apply 
thatepithet to my brother Constantius. He is no more; may 
tlie earth lie liirht on his head ! But his artful and cruel 
favorites studied to deceive and exasperate a pi-ince, whose 
natural mildness cannot be j^raised without some efforts of 
adulation. It is not, however, my intention, that even those 
men should be oppressed : they are accused, and they shall 
enjoy the benefit of a fair and impartial trial." To conduct 
this inquiry, Julian named six judges of the highest rank in 
the state and army ; and as he wished to escape the reproach 
of condemning his personal enemies, he fixed this extraordi- 
nary tribunal at Chalcedon, on the Asiatic side of the Bos- 
phorus ; and transferred to the commissioners an absolute 
power to pronounce and execute their final sentence, without 
delay, and without appeal. The office of president was ex- 
ercised by the venerable praefect of the East, a second Sal- 
lust,^ whose virtues conciliated the esteem of Greek sophists, 
and of Christian bishops. He was assisted by the eloquent 

w 111 the Misopogon (pp. 338, 339) he draws a very singular picture of himself, 
and the following words are strangely characteristic : o.vth<i npoatOcLKa tov ^aOw 

rovTOUL TTuiyuii/a * * * * ravTa TOt 6La6eoi'TbJi' a.ve)(Ofiat Tuif (ftOeipuji' wtrnep ev 

AoxM]? Twy Orfpiwf. The friends of the Abb6 de la Bleterie adjured him, in the 
name of the French nation, not to translate this passage, so olfensive to their 
delicacy (Hist, de Joviea, torn. ii. p. 94). Like him, I have contented mysel/ 
with a transient allusion; but the little animal which Julian names, is a beast 
familiar lo man, and signilies love. 

^'' Julian, epist. xxiii. p. 389. He uses the words no\vKe<j>a\ov vSpav in writing 
to his friend liermogenes, who, like himself, was conversant with the Greek 
poets. 

60 The two Sallusts, the prsefect of Gaul, and the praefect of the East, must be 
carefully distinguished (Hist, des Empereurs, toni. iv. p. 696. 1 have used the 
surname of Sccutulus, -Xs a convenient epithet. The second Sallust extorted tbe 
esteem of the Christians themselves ; and Gregory Nazianzen, who condemned his 
religion, has celebrated his virtues (Orat. iii. p. 90). See a curious note of the 
Abbe de la Bleterie, Vie de Julien, p. 363.* 

* Glbbonus secundum habet pro numero, quod tamen est viri agnomen. "Wag- 
ner, nota in loc. A mm. It is not a raistak ; it is rather an error in laste. Wag- 
ner liicliaes to transfer the chief guilt to Arbeiio. — M. 



296 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Manicrtinus," one of the consuls elect, whose merit is loudly 
celebrated by the doubtful evidence of his own applause. 
But the civil wisdom of two magistrates was overbalanced 
by the ferocious violence of four generals, Nevitta, Agilo, 
Jovinus, ajnd Arbetio. Arbetio, whom the public would 
have seen with less surprise at the bar than on the bench, was 
snj)posed to possess the secret of the commission ; the armed 
and angry leaders of the Jovian and Herculian bands encom- 
passed the tribunal ; and the judges were alternately swayed 
by the laws of justice, and by the clamors of faction.®^ 

The chamberlain Eusebius, who had so long abused the 
favor of Constantius, expiated, by an ignominious death, the 
insolence, the cofruption, and cruelty of his servile reign. 
The executions of Paul and Apodemius (the former of whom 
was burnt alive) were accepted as an inadequate atonement 
by the widows and orphans of so many hundred Romans, 
whom those legal tyrants had betrayed and murdered. But 
Justice herself (if we may use the pathetic expression of 
Ammianus ^^) appeared to weep over the fate of Ursulus, the 
treasurer of the empire ; and his blood accused the ingrati- 
tude of Julian, whose distress had been seasonably relieved 
by the intrepid liberality of that honest minister. The rage 
of the soldiers, whom he had provoked by his indiscretion, 
was the cause and the excuse of his death ; and the emperor, 
deeply wounded by his own reproaches and those of the 
public, offered some consolation to the family of Ursulus, 
by the restitution of his confiscated fortunes. Before the 
end of the year in which they had been adorned with the 
ensigns of the prefecture and consulship,^^ Taurus and Flor- 
entius were reduced to implore the clemency of the inexor- 
able tribunal of Chalcedon. The former was banished to 
Vercellie in Italy, and a sentence of death Avas pronounced 
against the latter. A wise prince should have rewarded 
the crime of Taurus : the faithful minister, when he was no 
longer able to oppose the progress of a rebel, had taken 
refucre in the court of his benefactor and his lawful sover- 

61 Mamertinus praises the emperor (xi. 1.) for bestowing the offices of Treas- 
urer and rrfetect on a man of wisdom, firmness, integrity. &.C., like himself. Yet 
Ammianus ranks him (xxi. 1.) among the uiinisters of Julieii, quorum merita 
roiat et fidem. 

^- The proceedings of this chamber of justice are related by Ammianus (xxi. 3), 
and praised by Libanitis (Orat. Parent, c. 74, pp. 299. 300). 

^ Ursuli vero necem ipsa mihi videiur flesse justitia. Libanius, who imputes 
his death to the soldiers, attempts- to criminate the count of the largesses. 

^* Such respect was still entertained for the venerable names of the common- 
wealth, that the public was surprised and scandalized to hear Taurus summoned 
SB a criminal under the consulship of Taurus. The summons of liis colleague 
Florentius was probably delayed till the commencement of the ensuing ^fQi\s. 



OF THE KOMAN^ EMPIKE. 297 

eign. But the guilt of Florentius justified the severity of 
tlie judires ; and Jiis escape served to display the magna- 
nimity of Julian, who nobly checked the interested diligence 
of an iiiiornier, and refused to learn what place concealed 
the wretched fugitive from his just resentment.*^^ Some 
months after the tribunal of Chalcedou had been dissolved, 
the pniitorian vicegerent of Africa, the notary Gaudentius, 
and Arteinius^^ duke of Egypt, were executed at Antioch. 
Artemlus had reigned the cruel and corrupt tyrant of a great 
province ; Gaudentius had long practiced the arts of calumny 
against the innocent, the virtuous, and even the person of 
Julian himself. Yet the circumstances of their trial and 
condemnation were so unskilfully managed, that these 
wicked men obtained, in the public opinion, the glory of 
suffering for tlie obstinate loyalty with whicli they had sup- 
ported tlie cause of Constantius. The rest of his servants 
were protected by a general act of oblivion ; and they were 
left to enjoy with impunity the bribes which they had ac- 
cepted, either to defend the oppressed, or to oppress the 
friendless. This measure, which, on the soundest principles 
of policy, may deserve our approbation, was executed in a 
manner which seemed to degrade the majesty of the throne. 
Julian was tormented by the importunities of a multitude, 
particularly of Egyptians, who loudly redemanded the gifts 
which they had imprudently or illegally bestowed ; he fore- 
saw the endless prosecution of vexatious suits ; and he en- 
gaged a promise, which ought always to have been sacred, 
that if they would repair to Ohalcedon he would meet 
them in person, to hear and determine their complaints. 
But as soon as they were landed, he issued an absolute order, 
which prohibited the watermen from transporting any Egyp- 
tian to Constantinople; and thus detained his disappointed 
clients on the Asiatic shore till, their patience and money 
being utterly exhausted, they Avere obliged to return with 
indignant murmurs to their native country.^'^ 

The numerous army of spies, of agents, and informers, 
enlisted by Constantius to secure the rej^ose of one man, 

^ Ammian. xx. 7. 

C6 For tlie guilt aiul punishment of Artemius, see Julian (Papist, x. p. 379) and 
Ammianus (xxii. 11. and Vales, ad loc.) The merit of Artemius, who deuioiished 
temples, and was pui to death by an apostate, has tempted the Greek and J^atiu 
churches to honor him as a martyr. But as ecclesiastical liistory attests tha; lie 
was not only a tyrant, but an Arian, it is not altogether easy to justify this indis- 
creet promotion. Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. vii. p. 1.31!). 

^? See Ammian. xxii. 6. and Vales, ad locum ; and the Codex Theodosianua, L 
Si. tit. xxix. leg. 1. ; and Godef roy's Commentary, torn. i. p. 218, ad locum. 



298 THE DECLIXE AND FALL 

and to interrupt that of millions, was immediately disbanded 
by his g'enerous successor. Julian "was slow in his suspicions, 
and gentle in his punishments; and his contempt of treason 
was the result of judgment, of vanity, and of courage. 
Conscious of superior merit, he Avas persuaded that few 
among his subjects would dare to meet him in the field, to 
attempt his life, or even to seat themselves on his vacant 
throne. The philoso])her could excuse the hasty sallies of 
discontent ; and the hero could despise the ambitious pro- 
jects which surpassed the fortune or the abilities of the rash 
conspirators. A citizen of Ancj^ra had prepared for his own 
use a purple garment ; and this indiscreet action, which, un- 
der the reign of Constantius, would have been considered as 
a capital offence,^*^ was reported to Julian by the officious 
importunity of a private enemy. The monarch, after mak- 
ing some inquiry into the rank and character of liis rival, 
despatched the informer with a present of a pair of purple 
slippers, to complete the magnificence of his Imperial habit. 
A more dangerous conspiracy was formed by ten of the do- 
mestic guards, who had resolved to assassinate Julian in the 
field of exercise near Antioch. Their intemperance revealed 
their guilt ; and they were conducted in chains to the pres- 
ence of their injured sovereign, who, after a lively repre- 
sentation of the wickedness and folly of their enterprise, 
instead of a death of torture, which they deserved and ex- 
pected, pronounced a sentence of exile against the two 
principal offenders. The only instance in which Julian 
seemed to depart from his accustomed clemency, was the 
execution of a rash youth, who, Avith a feeble hand, had as- 
pired to seize tho reins of empire. But that youth was the 
son of Marcellus, the general of cavalry, who, in the first 
campaign of the Gallic war, had deserted the standard of 
the Caesar and the republic. Without appearing to indulge 
his personal resentment, Julian might easily confound the 
crime of the son and of the father ; but he was reconciled 
by the distress of Marcellus, and the liberality of the em- 
peror endeavored to heal the wound which had been inflicted 
by the hand of justice.^^ 

^3 The president Montesquieu (Considerations snr la Grandeur, Szc, des Ro- 
rnains*, o. xiv. in his works, torn. iii. pp. 448, 44t)) excuses this minute and absurd 
tyranny, by supposinjj: that actions the most indifferent in our eyes might excite, 
in a Roman njind, the idea of guilt and danger. Tliis strange aiK)logy is sup- 
ported by a strange misapprehension of the Knglir.li laws, " chez une nation . . 
. . oil il est defendudo boire ii la sanle d'une oertaine personne." 

^^ The clemency of .Julian, and the conspiracy which was formed against his 
life at Antioch, are described by Ammiauus (xiii. 9, 10, and Vales, ad loc.) aud 
Libanius (Orat. Tarcnt. c. 99, p. 323.) 



OF THE ROMAX EMriRE. 299 

Julian was not insensible of the advantages of freedom.'^^ 
From his studies lie had imbibed the spirit of ancient sages 
and heroes ; his life and fortunes had depended on the ca- 
price of a tyrant ; and when he ascended the throne, his 
pritle was sometimes mortified by the reflection, that tlie slaves 
who would not dare to censure his defects were not worthy 
to applaud his virtues."^^ He sincerely abhorred the system 
of Oriental despotism, which Diocletian, Constantine, and 
the patient habits of fourscore years, had established in the 
empire. A motive of superstition prevented the execution 
of the design, which Julian had frequently meditated, of re- 
lieving his head from the weight of a costly diadem '^"'^ but 
he absolutely refused the title of Doniinus^ or Lord^^ a word 
which was grown so familiar to the ears of the Romans, that 
they no longer remembered its servile and humiliating ori- 
gin. The oflice, or rather the name, of consul, was cherished 
by a prince who contemplated with reverence the ruins of 
the republic ; and the same behavior which had been as- 
sumed by the prudence of Augustus was adopted by Julian 
from choice and inclination. On the calends of January, at 
break of day, the new consuls, Mamertinus and Nevitta, 
hastened to the palace to salute the emperor. As soon as 
he was informed of their approach, he leaped from his 
throne, eagerly advanced to meet them, and compelled the 
blushing magistrates to receive the demonstrations of his 
affected humility. From the palace they proceeded to the 
senate. The emperor, on foot, marched before their litters ; 
and the gazing multitude admired the image of ancient 
times, or secretly blamed a conduct, which, in their eyes, 
degraded the majesty of the purple."^^ But the behavior of 
Julian was uniformly supported. During the games of the 
Circus, he had, imprudently or designedly, performed the 

70 According to some, says Aristotle (as he is quoted by Julian ad Theniist. p. 
261) tlie form of absolute government, the 7raju./3acrtAeta, is contrary to nature. 
Both the prince and the philosopher choose, however, to involve this eternal 
truth in artful and labored obscurity. 

" That sentiment is expressed almost in the words of Julian himself. Am- 
mian. xxii. 10. 

'- Libanius (Orat. Parent, c. 95. p. 320), who mentions the wish and design of 
Julian, insinuates, in mysterious language {^toiv ovtcj •^fv6v^^av .... oAA" y\v 
d/xetVoji' 6 (cujAuoji'), that the emperor was restrained by some particular revelation. 

73 Julian in Misopogon, p. 343. As he never abolishe<l, by any public law, the 
proud appellations of Despot, or Dominua, they are still extant on his medals 
(Ducange, Fam. Byzantin. pp. 38, 39) ; and the private displeasure which lie 
affected to express, only gave a different tone to the servility of the court. The 
Abb6 de la Bleterie (Hist, de Jovien, torn. ii. pp. 99-102) has curiously traced tho 
origin and progress of the word Dominus under the Imperial government. 
' •* Ammian. xxii. 7. The consul Mamertinus (in Panegyr. Vet. xi. 28, 29, 30) 
celebrates the auspicious day, like an eloquent slave, astonished and intoxicated 
by the condescension of his master. 



300 THE DECLIXE AND FALL 

manumission of a slave in the presence of the consul. Tlie 
moment he was reminded tliat lie had trcsj)assed on the 
jurisdiction of anotJier magistrate, he condemned Iiimself to 
pay a fine of ten ])ounds of gold ; and embraced this public 
occasion of declaring to the world, that he was subject, like 
the rest of his fellow-citizens, to the laws,"^ and even to the 
forms, of the republic. The s])irit of his administration, 
and his regard for the place of his nati\ ity, induced Julian 
to confer on the senate of Constantinoj>le the same honors, 
privileges, and authority, which were still enjoyed by the 
senate of ancient Rome.'*' A legal fiction was introduced, 
and gradually established, that one-half of the national 
council liad migi-ated into the East ; and the despotic suc- 
cessors of Julian, accepting the title of Senators, acknowl- 
edged themselves the members of a respectable body, which 
was permitted to represent the majesty of the Roman name. 
From Constantinople, the attention of the monarcli was ex- 
tended to the municipal senates of the ])rovinces. He 
abolished, by repeated edicts, the unjust and pernicious ex- 
emptions which had withdrawn so many idle citizens from 
the service of their country ; and by imposing an equal dis- 
tribution of j)ublic duties, he restored the strength, the 
sj)lendor, or, according to the glowing expression of Liba- 
nius,"'^ the soul of the expirinoc cities of his empire. The 
venerable age of Greece excited th.e most tender compassion 
in the mind of Julian, wliich kindled into ra])ture when lie 
recollected the gods, the heroes, and the men su[)erior to 
heroes and to gods, who have bequeathed to the latest pos- 
terity the monuments of their genius, or the example of 
their virtues. He relieved the distress, and restored the 
beauty, of the cities of Ei)irus and Peloponnesus."^ Athens 

" Personal satire was condemned by the laws of the twelve tables : 
Si male condiderit in (juem quis cannina, jus est 

Judiciumque 

Horat. Sat. ii. 1. 82. 

Julian (in Misopogon, p. o37) owns himself subject to the law , an<l the Abb(^ de 
la iileterie (Hist, deflovien, torn. ii. p. 92) has eaj^erly embraced a declaration so 
agreeable to his own sybtem, and, indeed, to the true .spirit of the Imperial cou- 
Btitution. 

■'' Zosimus, 1. iii. p. 158. 

77 H T>}s- /iouArjq icrxi'? >/'«))(»? ToAeai? (<jTiv. See Libanius (Orat. Parent, c. 71. p. 
206), Ammiaiius (xxii. !)). and the Theodosian Code (1- xii. lit. i. leg. 50-55). with 
Godefrov's Commentary (lom iv. pp. ;W0-404). Yet the whole subject of the 
Vnrta, notwithslaiiding'very ample materials, still remains the most obscure in 
the legal history of the empire 

'8 Quie paido ante arida et siti anhelantia visebantur, ea nunc perhii, mun- 
dari, madere. Fora, Deauibulacra, (;ymna>ia, hvtis et gaiidentibus populis fre- 
quentari ; dies feslos, et eelebrari veteres. et novos in honorem principis conse- 
crari (Mainerliu. xi. D). He particularly restored the city of Nicopolis and the 
Actiac games, v?hich had been instituted by Augustus. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 301 

i 

ackiiowleclo^ed him for her benefactor ; Argos, for her de- 
liverer. The pride of Corinth, again rising from her ruins 
with the honors of a Roman colony, exacted a tribute from 
the adjacent republics, for the purpose of defraying the 
games of the Isthmus, which were celebrated in the amphi- 
theatre with the hunting of bears and panthers. From this 
tribute the cities of Elis, of Delphi, and of Argos, which had 
inherited from their remote ancestors the sacred office of 
perpetuating the Olympic, the Pythian, and the Nemenn 
games, claimed a just exemption. The immunity of Elis 
and Delphi was respected by the Corinthians ; but the pov- 
erty of Argos tempted the insolence of oppression ; and the 
feeble complaints of its deputies were silenced by the de- 
cree of a provincial magistrate, who s-eems to have consulted 
only the interest of the capital in which he resided. Seven 
years after this sentence, Julian '^^ allowed the cause to be 
referred to a superior tribunal ; and his eloquence was inter- 
posed, most probably with success, in the defence of a city, 
which had been the royal seat of Agamemnon, ^^ and had 
given to Macedonia a race of kings and conquerors. ^^ 

The laborious administration of military and civil affairs, 
which were multiplied in proportion to the extent of the 
empire, exercised the abilities of Julian ; but he frequent- 
ly assumed the two characters of Orator ^^ and of Judge,^^ 
which are almost unknown to the modern sovereigns of 
Europe. The arts of persuasion, so diligently cultivated by 
the first Caesars, were neglected by the military ignorance 

"5 Julian, Epist. xxxv. pp. 407-411. This epistle, which illustrates the declining 
age of Greece, is omitted by the Abbe de la Jileterie ; and, strangely disfigured 
by the Latin translator, who, by renderi]ig areAna, iributum, and LStuiTaL, pop- 
ulus, directly contradicts the sense of the original. 

8'' He reigned in Mycenae at the distance of fifty stadia, or six miles, from 
Argos : bat these cities, which alternately flourishied, are confounded by the 
Greek poets. Stial^o, 1. viii. p. 57t), edit. Amstel. 1707. 

81 Marsham, Canon. Chron. p. 421. This pedigree from Temenns and Her- 
cules may be suspicious ; yet it was allowed, after a strict inquiry by the judges 
of the Olympic games (Herodot. 1. v. c. 22), at a tims when the IVIacedonian kings 
were obscure and unpopular in Greece. When the^ Achcean league declared 
against Philip, it was thought decent that the deputies of Argos should retire 
(T. Liv. xxxii. 22). 

82 His eloquence is celebrated by Libanius (Orat. Parent, c. 75, 76, pp. 300, 301), 
who distinctly mentions the orators of Homer. Socrates (1. iii. c. 1) has rashly 
asserted that .Julian was the only prince, since Julius Csesar, who harangued the 
senate. All the predecessors of Nero (Tacit. Annal. xiii. 3), and many of his suc- 
cessors, ]iosscssed the faculty of speaking in i)ublic ; and it might be proved by 
various examples, that they frequeiitly exercised it in the senate. 

^■■' Aminianus (xxi. 10) has impartially slated the merits and defects of his 
judicial prof-eedings. Libiinins (Orat. Parent, c. 90,91, p. 315, &c.) has seen only 
the fiiir side, and his picture, if it flatters the person, expresses at least the du- 
ties, of the judge. Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. iv. }>. 120), who suppresses the vir- 
tues, and exaggerates even the venial faults, of the Apostate, triumphantly asks, 
whether such a judge was tit to be seated between JMinos aud Rhadamanthus in 
the Elysiau fields. 



802 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

and Asiatic pride of the successors ; and if they condescend- 
ed to harano^ue the soldiers, whom they feared, they treated 
with silent disdain the senators, whom they despised. The 
assemblies of the senate, which Constantius had avoided, 
were considered by Julian as the place where he could ex- 
hibit, with the most propriety, the maxims of a republican, 
and the talents of a rhetorician. He alternately practiced, 
as in a school of declamation, the several modes of praise, of 
censure, of exhortation ; and his friend Libanius has re- 
marked, that the study of Homer taught him to imitate the 
simple, concise style of Mcnelaus, the copiousness of Nestor, 
whose words descended like the tlakes of a winter's snow, 
or the pathetic and forcible eloquence of Ulysses. The 
functions of a judge, which are sometimes incompatible 
with those of a prince, were exercised by Julian, not only 
as a duty, but as an amusement ; and although he might 
have trusted the integrity and discernment of his PraetO' 
rian praefects, he often placed himself by their side on the 
seat of judgment. The acute penetration of his mind was 
agreeably occupied in detecting and defeating the chican- 
ery of the advocates, who labored to disguise the truth of 
facts, and to pervert the sense of the laws. He sometimes 
forgot the gravity of his station, asked indiscreet or unsea- 
sonable questions, and betrayed, by the loudness of his voice, 
and the agitation of his body, the earnest vehemence with 
which he maintained his opinion against the judges, the ad- 
vocates, and their clients. But his knowledge of his own 
temper prompted liim to encourage, and even to solicit, the 
reproof of his friends and ministers ; and whenever they 
ventured to oppose the irregular sallies of his passions, the 
sj^ectators could observe the shame, as well as the gratitude, 
of their monarch. The decrees of Julian were almost al- 
ways founded on the principles of justice ; and he had the 
firmness to resist the two most dangerous temptations, Avhicli 
assault the tribunal of a sovereign, under the specious forms 
of compassion and equity. He decided the merits of the 
cause without weighing the circumstances of the parties ; 
and the poor, whom lie wished to relieve, were condemned 
to satisfy the just demands of a noble and wealthy adver- 
sary. He carefully distinguished the judge from the legis- 
lator ; ^'* and though he meditated a necessary reformation 

84 Of the laws which Julian enacted in a reign of sixteen months, fifty .four 
have Ireen admitted into the codes of Theodosius and JuBtinian. (Gothofred. 
Chron. Legum, pp. 64-67). The Abbe de la Bleierie (toni. ii. pp. o2!t-3.S6) iiaa 
chosen one of these laws to give an idea of Julian's Latin style, which is forcible 
and elaborate, but less pure than his Greek. 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 303 

of the Roman jurisprudence, he pronounced sentence ac- 
cording to the strict and literal interpretation of those laws, 
which the magistrates were bound to execute, and the sub- 
jects to obey. 

The generality of princes, if they were stripped of their 
purple, and cast naked into the world, would immediately 
sink to the lowest rank of society, without a hope of emer- 
ging from their obscurity. But the personal merit of Julian 
was, in some measure, independent of liis fortune. What- 
ever had been his choice of life, by the force of intrepid 
courage, lively wit, and intense application, he would have 
obtained, or at least he would have deserved, the highest 
honors of his profession ; and Julian might have raised him- 
self to the rank of minister, or general, of the state in which 
lie was born a private citizen. If the jealous capi-ice of 
power had disappointed his expectations, if he had prudent- 
ly declined the paths of greatness, the employment of the 
same talents in studious solitude would have placed beyond 
the reach of kings his present happiness and his immortal 
fame. When we inspect, with minut^?, or j)erhaps malevo- 
lent attention, the portrait of Julian, something seems want- 
ing to the grace and perfection of the whole figure. Ilis 
genius was less powerful and sublime than that of Caesar ; nor 
did he possess the consummate prudence of Augustus. The 
virtues of Trajan appear more steady and natural, and the 
philosophy of Marcus is more simple and consistent. Yet 
Julian sustained adversity with firmness, and prosperity 
with moderation. After an interval of one hundred and 
twenty years from the death of Alexander Severus, the Ro- 
mans beheld an emperor who made no distinction between 
his duties and his pleasures ; who labored to relieve the 
distress, and to revive the spirit, of his subjects; and who 
endeavored always to connect authority with merit, and 
liappiness with virtue. Even faction, and religious faction, 
was constrained to acknowledge the superiority of his ge- 
nius, in peace as well as in war, and to confess, with a sigh, 
that the apostate Julian was a lover of his country, and that 
he deserved the empire of the world. ^^ 

® .... Buctor fortissimus armis ; 

Conditor et legum celeberrinms ; ore manftque 
Consultor i)atriae ; sed iioii coiisu]tor habeudai 
lleligionis ; umans terceiituin millia Divuin. 
Perfldus ille Deo, quamvis non pertidus orlii. 

Prudent. Apotheosis, 450, &c. 

The consciousness of a generous sentiment seams to have raised the Chribtian 
poet above his usual mediocrity. 



304 THE DECLINE AND FALL 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

THE RELIGION OF JULIAN. UNIVERSAL TOLERATION. — HE 

ATTEMPTS TO RESTORE AND REFORM THE PAGAN WOR- 
SHIP. TO REBUILD THE TEMPLE OF JERUSALEM. HIS 

ARTFUL PERSECUTION OF THE CHRISTIANS. MUTUAL 

ZEAL AND INJUSTICE. 

The character of Apostate has injured the reputation of 
Julian ; and the enthusiasm wliich clouded his virtues has 
exaggerated the real and apparent magnitude of his faults. 
Our partial ignorance may represent him as a pliilosophic 
monarch, Avho studied to protect, with an equal liand, the 
religious factions of tlie empire; and to allay the theologi- 
cal fever which had inflamed the minds of the peojDle, from 
tlie edicts of Diocletian to the exile of Athanasius. A more 
accurate view of tlie character and conduct of Julian will 
remove this favorable prepossession for a prince who did 
not escape the general contagion of the times. We enjoy 
the singular advantage of comparing the pictures which 
have been delineated by his fondest admirers and his im- 
placable enemies. The actions of Julian are faithfully 
related by a judicious and candid historian, the impartial 
S]>ectator of his life and death. The unanimous evidence of 
liis contemporaries is confirmed by the public and private 
declarations of the emperor himself ; and his various writ- 
ings express the uniform tenor of his religious sentiments, 
which policy would have prompted him to dissemble rather 
than to affect. A devout and sincere attachment for the 
gods of Athens and Rome constituted the ruling passion of 
Julian ; ^ the powers of an enlightened understanding were 
betrayed and corrupted by the influence of superstitious pre- 
judice, and the phantoms which existed only in the mind of the 
emperor had a real and pernicious effect on the government 

1 I shall transcribe some of his own expressions from a short religious dis- 
course which tiie Imperial poitilt' composed to censure the bold impietj' of a 
Cynic. ' AAA' o/ulw? ovtw 8r'i tl tov? 0€ov<; m^pLKa, Kai </)tAtj, Kal ai^ixt, kol). a^o/xat, (cai 
5ra('6* drrAd)? ra ToiauTa Trpb? auTov? Trder^to, oaainp av Tit Ka\ oia Trpb? a\a.9ov<; fiecriroTc;, 
■npo<; SifiacTKdAbu?, nphq Trarepa?, rrpb? /CTjSe/mdi'a;. Orat. vii. p. 212. The variety Olid 

copiousness of the Greek tongue seem inadequate to the fervor of his devotion. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 305 

of the empire. The vehement zeal of the Christians, who 
despised the worship, and overturned the altars, of those 
fabulous deities, engaged their votary in a state of irrecon- 
cilable hostility with a very numerous party of liis subjects ; 
and he was sometimes tempted by the desire of victory, or 
the shame of a repulse, to violate tlie laws of })rudcnce, and 
even of justice. The trium])h of the party, wliich lie de- 
serted and opposed, has fixed a stain of infamy on the name 
of Julian ; and the unsuccessful apostate has been over- 
whelmed with a torrent of pious invectives, of which the 
signal was given by the sonorous trumpet^ of Gregory Naz- 
ianzen^ I'he interesting nature of the events which were 
crowded into the short reign of this active emperor deserves 
a just and circumstantial narrative. His motives, iiis coun- 
sels, and his actions, as far as they are connected with the 
history of religion, will be the subject of the present 
chapter. 

The cause of his strange and fatal apostasy may be de- 
rived from the enrh'- period of his life, when he was left an 
orphan in the hands of the murderers of his family. The 
names of Christ and of Constantius, the ideas of slaverv 
and of religion, were soon associated in a youthful imagina- 
tion, which was susceptible of the most lively impressions. 
The care of his infancy was intrusted to Eusebius, bishop of 
Nicomedia,* who was related to him on the side of his 
mother; and till Julian reached the twentieth year of his 
age, he received from his Christian preceptors the education, 
not of a hero, but of a saint. The emj^eror, less jealous of 
a heavenly than of an earthly crown, contented himself 
wdth the imperfect character of a catechumen, while he 
bestowed the advantages of baptism ^ on the nephews of 

2 The orator, with some eloquence, much enthusiasm, and more vaiiiLy, ad- 
dresses his discourse to heaven and eanh, to men and angels, to tlie livijig and 
tlie dead ; and above all, to the great Constantius (ei rt? aia^Tjai?, an odd Pagan 
expression). He concludes with a bold assurance, that he has erected a monu- 
ment not less d>irable, and much more portable, than the columns of Hercules, 
See Greg. Nazianzen, Orat. iii. p. 50, iv. p. 134. 

^ See this long invective, which In^s been injudiciously divided into two ora- 
tions iu Gregory's Works, tom. i. pp. 49-1.34, Paris, lG3u. It was published by 
Gregory and his friend Basil (iv. p- 1.33), about six months after the deaLli of Ju- 
lian, when his remains had been cairied to Tarsus (iv. p. 120 ; but while fjovian 
was still oil the throne (iii. p. 54, iv. p. 117). 1 have derived much assistance from 
a French version and remarks, printed at Lyons, 1735. 

■* Nicomedise ab Eusebio educatus Episcopo, quem genere longins continge- 
bat (Ammian. xxii. 9). Julian never expresses any gratitude towards that Ariau 
prelate ; but he celebrates his preceptor, the eunuch Mardonius, and describes 
his mode of education, which inspired his pupil with a passionate admiration for 
the genius, and perhaps the religion, of Homer. Misopogon, pp. 351, 352- 

^ Greg. Xaz. iii. p. 70. He labored to effect that holy mark in the blood, per- 
haps, of a Taurobolium. Baron. Annal. Eccles. A. !)• 361, No. 3, 4, 

Vol. II.— 20 



306 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

Constantine.*' They were even admitted to the inferior 
offices of the ecclesiastical order ; and Julian publicly read 
the Holy Scriptures in the church of Xicomedia. The 
study of religion, which they assiduously cultivated, ap- 
peared to produce the fairest fruits of truth and devotion." 
They prayed, they fasted, they distributed alms to the poor, 
gifts to tlie clergy, and oblations to tlie tombs of the mar- 
tyrs ; and the splendid monument of St. Mamas, at Caesarea, 
was erected, or at least was undertaken, by the joint labor 
of Gallus and Julian.^ They respectfully conversed with 
the bishops, who were eminent for superior sanctity, and 
solicited the benediction of the monks and hermits, who 
had introduced into Cappadocia the voluntary hardships of 
the ascetic life.^ As the two princes advanced towards the 
yeai*s of manhood, they discovered, in their religious senti- 
ments the difference of their characters. The dull and ob- 
stinate understanding of Gallus, embraced, with implicit 
zeal, the doctrines of Christianity ; which never influenced 
his conduct, or moderated his passions. The mild disposi- 
tion of the younger brother Avas less repugnant to the pre- 
cepts of the gospel ; and his active curiosity might have 
been gratified by a theological system which explains the 
mysterious essence of the Deity, and opens the boundless 
prospect of invisible and future worlds. But the indepen- 
dent spirit of Julian refused to yield the passive and unre- 
sisting obedience which was required, in the name of 
religion, by the haughty ministers of the church. Their 
speculative opinions were imposed as positive laws, and 
guarded by the terrors of eternal punishments; but while 
they prescribed the rigid formulary of the thoughts, the 
words, and the actions of the young prince ; whilst they 
silenced his objections, and severely checked the freedom of 
his inquiries, they secretly provoked his impatient genius to 
disclaim the authority of his ecclesiastical guides. He was 

* Julian himself (Epist- li. p. 454) assures the Alexandrians that he had been 
a Christian (he must mean a sincere one) till the twentieth year of his age. 

7 See his Christian, and even ecclesiastical education, in Gregory (iii. p. 58(, 
Socrates "(1. iii. c. 1), and Sozomen (1. v. c. 2). He escaped very narrowly from 
being a bishop, and perhaps a saint. 

" The share of the work which liad been allotted tr> Gallus, was prosecuted 
with vigor and success; but the earth obstinately rejected and subverten tho 
structures which were imposed by the sacrile;:io'is hand of ,Tulian. Grcir. iii. pp. 
59, 60, 61. Such a partial earthquake, attested by many living spectators, would 
form one of the clearest miracles m ecclesiastical story. 

* The phlfoftopher (Fragment, p. 288), ridicules the iron chains, &o.. of these 
solitary fanatics (See Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. ix. pp. 661. 6t>*2), who had forw 
got that man is by nature a gentle and social animal, nfdptuTrov 4>va(i no\iTi<ov 
fwow KoX riiJLfpov. The Pagan supposes, that because they had renounced the 
gods, they were possessed and tormented by evil dajmons. ' 



OP THE KOMAN EMriRE. 307 

educated in the Lesser Asia, amidst the scandals of the 
Arian controversy.^^ The fierce contests of the Eastern 
bishops, the incessant alterations of their creeds, and the 
profane motives which appeared to actuate their conduct, in- 
sensibly strengthened the prejudice of Julian, that they 
neither understood nor believed the religion for which they 
so fiercely contended. Instead of listening to the proofs 
of Christianity with that favorable attention wliich adds 
weight to the most respectable evidence, he heard with sus- 
picion, and disputed with obstinacy and acuteness, the 
doctrines for which he already entertained an invincible 
aversion. Whenever the young princes were directed to 
compose declamations on the subject of the prevailing con- 
troversies, Julian always declared himself the advocate of 
Paganism ; under the specious excuse that, in the defence 
of the weaker cause, his learning and ingenuity might be 
more advantageously exercised and displayed. 

As soon as Gallus was invested with the honors of the 
purple, Julian was permitted to breathe the air of freedom, 
of literature, and of Paganism.^^ The crowd of soi)hists, 
who were attracted by the taste and liberality of their royal 
pupil, had formed a strict alliance between the learning and 
the religion of Greece ; and the poems of Homer, instead 
of being admired as the original productions of human 
genius, were seriously ascribed to the heavenly inspiration of 
Apollo and the muses. The deities of Olympus, as they are 
painted by tl>e immortal bard, imprint themselves on the 
minds which are the least addicted to superstitious credulity. 
Our familiar knowledge of their names and characters, their 
forms and attributes, seems to bestow on those airy beings 
a real and substantial existence ; and the pleasing enchant- 
ment produces an imperfect and momentary assent of the 
imagination to those fables, which are the most repugnant 
to our reason and experience. In the age of Julian, every 
circumstance contributed to prolong and fortify the illusion ; 
tlie magnificent temples of Greece and Asia; the works of 
those artists who had expressed, in pamting or in sculpture, 
the divine conceptions of the poet ; the pomp of festivals 

10 See Julian apud Cyril, 1. vi. p. 206, 1. viii. pp. 253, 2C2. "You persecute.'* 
savs he, "those heretics who do not mourn the dead man precisely in ihti way 
w^iich you approve." He shows himself a tolerable theologian ; but he main- 
tains that the Christian Trinity is uot derived from the doctrine of Paul, of 
Jesus, or of Moseft. 

" Libanius, Orat. Parentalis, c 9, 10, p. 232, &c. Greg. Nazianzen, Orat iii. 
p. 61. Eunap. Vit. Sophist, iu Maximo, pp. 68, G9, 70, edit. Commelin. 



308 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

and sacrifices ; the successful arts of divination ; tne popu- 
lar traditions of oracles and prodigies ; and the ancient 
practice of two thousand years. The weakness of polythe- 
ism was, in some measure, excused by the moderation of its 
claims ; and the devotion of the Pagans was not incompati- 
ble with the most licentious skepticism. ^'^ Instead of an in- 
divisible and regular system, which occupies the whole 
extent of the believing mind, the mythology of the Greeks 
was composed of a thousand loose and liexible parts, and 
the servant of the gods was at liberty to define the degree 
and measure of his relii^ious faith. The creed which Julian 
adopted for his own use was of the largest dimensions ; and, 
by a strange contradiction, he disdained the salutary yoke 
of the gospel, whilst he made a voluntary offering of his 
reason on the altars of Jupiter and Apollo. One of the 
orations of Julian is consecrated to the honor of Cvbele, 
the mother of the gods, who required from her effeminate 
j)riests the bloody sacrifice, so rashly performed by the mad- 
ness of the Phrygian boy. The pious emperor condescends 
to relate, without a blush, and without a smile, the voyage 
of the goddess from the shores of Pergamus to the mouth 
of the Tiber, and the stupendous miracle, which convinced 
the senate and people of Rome that the lump of clay, which 
their ambassadors had transported over the seas, was en- 
dowed with life, and sentiment, and divine power.^^ For 
the truth of this prodigy he appeals to the public monu- 
ments of the city ; and censures, with some acrimony, the 
sickly and affected taste of those men, who impertinently 
derided the sacred traditions of their ancestors.^* 

But the devout philosopher, who sincerely embraced, and 
warmly encouraged, the superstition of the people, reserved 
for himself the privilege of a liberal interpretation ; and 
silently withdrew from the foot of the altars into the sanctu- 

12 A modern pliilosopher has ingeniously compared the different operation of 
theism and polytlieisni, \vith regard to tlie doubt or conviction \vhi<li tliey pro- 
duce in the human mind. See Hume's Essays, vol. ii. pp. 444-457, in 8vo, edit. 
1777. 

!•» The Idaean mother landed in Italy about the end of the second Punic war. 
The miracle of Claudia, either virgin or matron, who cleared her fame by dis- 
gracing the graver moUesiy of the Koman ladies, is att sted by a cloi.d t.f wit- 
nesses. Their evidence is collected by Drakenl orch (ad Silium Italitum, xvii. 
33) ; but we may observe that Livy (xxix. 14) slides over the transaction with 
di-screet ambiguity. 

1* I cajinot refiain from transcribing the cmphatical words of Julian : eVol Si 
SoKfl Tais TToAfat ntaTtvfiy ixaWoi' tol ToiaOra >j tovtoicti toT? icom^o(c, wi^ to xltvxdpioy 
6piixv fj.ev, r<vie? 6e ovSk eV ^AeVei. Orat. V. p. 161. Julian likewise dechir- o his 
firm belief in the nncilin, the lioly shields, which dropped from henven on tlie Quiri- 
iial hill ; and pities the strange blindness of the Christians, who pref<^.red the 
cross to these celestial trophies. Apud Cyril. 1. vi. p. 194. 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. cOO 

ary of the temple. The extravagance of the Grecian mythol- 
ogy proclaimed, with a clear and audible voice, that the 
pious inquirer, instead of being scandalized or satisfied with 
the literal sense, should diligently ex})lore the occult wisdom, 
V hich had been disguised, by the prudence of antiquity, un- 
der the mask of folly and of fal)k'.^' The philosophers of 
the Platonic school,^*"' Plotinus, Porphyry, and the divine 
lamblichus, were admired as the most skilful masters of t::is 
allegorical science, Avhich labored to soften and harmonize 
the deformed features of Paganism. Julian himself, who 
was directed in the mysterious jnirsuitby ^desius, the ven- 
erable successor of lamblichus, aspired to the possession of 
a treasure, which he esteemed, if we may credit his solemn 
asseverations, far above the empire of the world." It was 
indeed a treasure, which derived its value only from oj^in- 
ion ; and every artist who flattered himself that he had ex- 
tracted the ]n'ecious ore fi'om the surrounding dross, claimed 
an equal right of stamping the name and figure the most 
agreeable to his peculiar fancy. The fable of Atys and 
Cybele had been already explained by Porphyry ; but his 
labors served only to animate the pious industry of Julian, 
who invented and published his own allegory of that ancient 
and mystic tale. This freedom of interpretation, which 
might gratify the pride of the Platonists, exposed the vanity 
of their art. Without a tedious detail, the modern reader 
could not form a just idea of the strange allusions, the forced 
etymologies, the solemn trifling, and the mipenetrable ob- 
scurity of these sages, who professed to reveal the system of 
the universe. As the traditions of Pagan mythology were 
variously related, the sacred interpreters were at liberty to 
select the most convenient circumstances ; and as they trans- 
lated an arbitrary cipher, they could extract from anj/ fable 
am/ sense Avhich was adapted to their favorite system of re- 
ligion and philosophy. The lascivious form of a naked 
Venus was tortured into the discovery of some moral pre- 
cept, or some physical truth ; and the castration of Atys ex- 

'' See tlie principles of allegory, in Julian (Orat. vii. pp. 216, 222). His rca- 
soning is less absurd than th;it of some modern theologians, who assert that an 
extravagant or contradictory doctrine must be divine ; since no man alive could 
have thought of inventing it. 

16 Eunapius has made these sophists the subject of a partial and fanatical his- 
tory ; and tlie learned Brucker (Hist. Philosoph. torn. ii. pp. 217-30.3) has em- 
ployed much labor to illustrate their obscure lives and incomprehensible doc- 
trines. 

^1 Julian, Orat. vii. p, 222. He swears with the most fervent and enthusiastic 
devotion ; and trembles, le.st he should betray too much of these holy mysteries, 
which the profane might deride with an impiots Sardonic laugh. 



310 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

pliiincd the revolution of the sun between the tropics, or 
the separation of the human soul from vice and error.^* 

Tlie theoh)gical system of Julian a])pears to have con- 
tained the sublime and im})ortant pnnci])les of natural re- 
ligion. But as the faith, which is not founded on revelation, 
must remain destitute of any firm assurance, the disciple of 
Plato imprudently relapsed into the habits of vulgar super- 
stition ; and the popular and philosophic notion of the Deity 
seems to have been confounded in the practice, the writings, 
and even in the mind of Julian. ^^ Tlie pious emperor ac- 
knowledged and adored the Eternal Cause of the universe, 
to whom he ascribed all the perfections of an infinite nature, 
invisible to the eyes, and inaccessible to the understanding, 
of feeble mortalsc The Supreme God had created, or rather, 
in the Platonic language, had generated, the gradual suc- 
cession of dependent spirits, of gods, of dremons, of heroes, 
and of men ; and every being which derived its existence 
immediately from the First Cause, received the inherent 
gift of immortality. That so precious an advantage might 
not be lavished upon unworthy objects, the Creator had in- 
trusted to the skill and power of the inferior gods the ofiice 
of forming the human body, and of arranging the beautiful 
harmony of the animal, the vegetable, and the mineral king- 
doms. To the conduct of these divine ministers he dele- 
gated the temporal government of this lower Avorld ; but 
their imperfect administration is not exempt from discord 
or error. The earth and its inhabitants are divided among 
them, and the characters of Mars or Minerva, of Mercury or 
Venus, may be distinctly traced in the laws and manners of 
their peculiar votaries. As long as our immortal souls are 
confined in a mortal prison, it is our interest, as well as our 
duty, to solicit the favor, and to deprecate the wrath, of the 
powers of heaven ; Avhose pride is gratified by the devotion 
of mankind ; and whose grosser parts may be supposed to 
derive some nourishment from the fumes of sacrifice.^'' The 

18 See the fifth oration of Julian. But all the allegories which ever issued 
from the riatoiiic school are not worth the short i)oeiu of Catullus on the same 
extraordinary subject. The transition of Atys, from the wildest enthusiasm to 
sober, pathetic complaint, for his irretrievable loss, must inspire a man with 
pity, a eunu< h with despair. 

iJ The true religion of Julian may be deduced from the Cresars, p. 308, with 
Spanhcim's notes and illustrations, from the fragments in Cyril, 1. ii. pp. 57, 58, 
and especially from the theological oration in Solem Regem. pp. 130-158, ad- 
dressed, in the confidence of friendship, to the prsefect Sallust. 

'^> Julian adopts this gross conception by asc-ibing it to his favorite Marcus 
Antoninus (Cjesares. p. 333). The Stoics and Platonists hesitated between the 
analogy of bodies and the purity of spirits ; yet the gravest pliilosophers inclined 
to Ihe" whimsical fancy of Aristophane'^ and Lucian, that an unbelieving age 
nrglit starve the immortal gods. See Observations de Spanheim, pp. 284, 444, &c 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 311 

inferior gods might sometimes condescend to animate the 
statues, and to inliabit the temples, which were dedicated to 
tlieir honor. They might occasionally visit the earth, but 
the heavens were the proper throne and symbol of their 
glory. The invariable order of the sun, moon, and stars, 
was hastily admitted by Julian, as a proof of their eternal 
duration ; and their eternity was a sufficient evidence that 
they were the workmanship, not of an inferior deity, but of 
the Omnipotent King. In the system of the Platonists, the 
visible was a type of the invisible world. Tlie celestial 
bodies, as they were informed by a divine spirit, might be 
considered as the objects the most worthy of religions wor- 
ship. The Sun, whose genial influence pervades and sns- 
tains the universe, justly claimed the adoration of mankind, 
as the bright representative of the Logos, the lively, the 
rational, the beneficent image of the intellectual Father,^^ 

In every age, the absence of genuine inspiration is sui> 
plied by the strong illusions of enthusiasm, and the mimic 
arts of imposture. If, in the time of Julian, these arts had 
been practiced only by the pagan priests, for the support of 
an expiring cause, some indulgence might perhaps be allowed 
to the interest and habits of the sacerdotal character. But 
it may appear a subject of surj)rise and scandal, that the 
philosophers themselves should have contributed to abuse 
the superstitious credulity of mankind,^- and that the Gre- 
cian mysteries should have been supported by the magic or 
theurgy of the modern Platonists. They arrogantly pre- 
tended to control the order of nature, to explore the secrets 
of futurity, to command the service of the inferior dj3emons, 
to enjoy the view and conversation of the su])erior gods, 
and by disengaging the soul from her material bands, to re- 
unite that immortid particle with the Infinite and Divine 
Si)irit. 

The devout and fearless curiosity of Julian tempted the 
philosophers with the ho])es of an easy conquest; which, 
from the situation of their young proselyte, might be j^ro- 

21 " HAtov Aeyw, rh ^wv dyaXfta kaX €jiA\^V)fOv, Kal evvovv, koX ayaOoepyov tou vorjToO 
Trarpb?. Julian. Epjst. li. In another p]a<;o (ai)U(l Cyril. 1. ii. p- GO), he calls the 
Sun (jod, and the throne of God. Julian believed the Platonician Trinity ; and 
only blames the Christians for preferring a moruU to an ininiorlal Lor/ns. 

" The sophists of Eunapius perform as many miracles as the t;ui}Us of the des- 
ert ; and the only circumstance in their favor is, that they are of a let-s j^loomy 
complexion. Instead of devils with horns and tails, lamhlichus evoked the genii 
of love, Eros and Anteros, from two adjacent founta ns. Two beautiful boys is- 
sued from the water, fondly embraced him as their father, and retired at hi.s com- 
mand, pp, 26, 27. 



312 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

ductive of tlie most important consequences.^^ Julian im- 
bibed the first rudiments of the Platonic doctrines from the 
mouth of ^desius, who had fixed at Pergamus his wander- 
ing and persecuted school. But as the declining strength of 
that venerable sage \vn.s unequal to the ardor, the diligence, 
the rapid conception of his pupil, two of his most learned 
disciples, Chrysantlies and Eusebius, supplied, at his ow*n 
desire, the place uf their aged master. These philosophers 
seem to have ])repared and distributed their respective parts; 
and they artfully contrived, by dark hints and affected dis- 
putes, to excite the impatient hopes of the aspirant^ till they 
delivered him into the hands of their associate, Maximus, 
the boldest and most skilful master of the Theurgic science. 
By his hands, Julian was secretly initiated at Ephesus, in 
the twentieth year of his age. His residence at Athens 
confirmed this unnatural alliance of ])hilosophy and super- 
stition. He obtained the privilege of a solemn initiation 
into the mysteries of Eleusis, which, amidst the general de- 
cay of the Grecian worship, still retained some vestiges ot 
their primaeval sanctity; and such was the zeal of Julian, 
that he afterwards invited the Eleusmian pontiff to the court 
of Gaul, for the sole purpose of consummating, by mystic 
rites and sacrifices, the great work of his sanctitication. As 
these ceremonies were performed in the depth of caverns, 
and in the silence of the night, and as the inviolable secret 
of the mysteries was preserved by the discretion of the ini- 
tiated, I shall not presume to describe the horrid sounds, 
and fiery aj^paritions, which were j)resented to the senses, or 
the imagination, of the credulous aspirant,^* till the visions 
of comfort and knowledge broke upon him in a blaze of 
celestial light.-^^ In the caverns of Ephesus and Eleusis, the 
mind of Julian Avas penetrated with sincere, deep, and un- 
alterable enthusiasm ; though he might sometimes exhibit 
the vicissitudes of pious fraud and hypocrisy, which may be 
observed, or at least suspected, in the characters of the most 
conscientious fanatics. From that moment he consecrated 

23 The (lexterons management of these sophists, who played their credulous 
pupil into eacli other's hands, is fairly told l>y Eunapius (pp. G9-7i>) with unsus- 
peciing simplicity. The Ahb6 de la Bleterie understands, and neatly describes, 
the whole comedy (Vie de Juli n, pp. 61-67). 

24 When Julian, in a momentary panic, made the sign of the cross, the daemons 
instantly di-appeared (Greg. N.iz. Ovnt. iii. p. 71). Gregory supposes that ihey 
were frightened, but the priests declared that they were indignant. The reader, 
according to the measure of his faith, will determine this profound question. 

23 A dark and distant view of the terrors and joys of ini i iation is shown by Dion, 
Chrysostom, Tlaemi.stius, Proclus,andStobaeus. The learneti author of theDivina 
Legation has exhibited their words (vol. i. pp. 239, 247, 248, 260, edit. 1765), which 
he dexterously or forcibly applies to his own hypothesis. 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE 313 

his life to the service of the gods ; and while the occupations 
of war, of government, and of study, seemed to claim the 
whole measure of his time, a stated portion of the hours of 
the night was invariably reserved for the exercise of private 
devotion. The temperance which adorned the severe man- 
ners of the soldier and the philosopher, was connected with 
some strict and frivolous rules of religious abstinence; and 
it was in honor of Pan or Mercury, of Hecate or Isis, that 
Julian, on particular days, denied himself the use of some 
particular food, which might have been offensive to his tute- 
lar deities. By these voluntary fasts, he prepared his senses 
and his understanding for the frequent and familiar visits 
with which he was honored by the celestial powers. Not- 
withstanding the modest silence of Julian himself, we may 
learn from his faithful friend, the orator Libanius, that he 
lived in a perpetual intercourse with the gods and goddesses; 
that they descended upon earth to enjoy the conversation of 
their favorite hero ; that they gently interrupted his slum- 
bers by touching his hand or his hair ; that they warned 
him of every impending danger, and conducted him, by 
their infallible wisdom, in every action of his life ; and that 
he had acquired such an intimate knowledge of his heavenly 
guests, as readily to distinguish the voice of Jupiter from 
that of Minerva, and the form of Apollo from the figure of 
Hercules. ^^ These sleeping or waking visions, the ordinary 
effects of abstinence and fanaticism, would almost degrade 
the emperor to the level of an Egyptian monk. But the 
useless lives of Antony or Pachomius were consumed in 
these vain occupations. Julian could break from the dream 
of superstition to arm himself for battle ; and after vanquish- 
ing in the field the enemies of Rome, he calmly retired into 
his tent, to dictate the wise and salutary laws of an empire, 
or to indulge his genius in the elegant pursuits of literature 
and philosophy. 

The important secret of the apostasy of Julian was in- 
trusted to the fidelity of the initiated^ Avith whom he was 
united by the sacred ties of friendship and religion.'-^'^ Tlie 
pleasing rumor was cautiously circulated among the adher- 

2" Julian's modesty confined him to obscure and occasional bints ; but Libanius 
expatiates with pleasure ou the fasts and visions of the religious hero. (Legat. 
ad Julian, p. 157, and Orat. Parental, c. Ixxxii. pp. 309, 310). 

2^ Libanius. Orat. Parent, c. x. pp. 233, k.'54. Gallus had some reason to suspect 
the secret apostasy of his brother ; and in a letter, whicli may be received as gen- 
uine, he exhorts Julian to adhere to the religion of their anreslors , an argument 
which, as it should seem, was not yet perfectly ripe. See Julian. Op. p. 454, and 
Hist, de Jovien. torn. ii. p. 141. 



314 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

ents of the ancient worslii]); and his future greatness oecame 
the object of the hopes, the prayers, and the predictions of 
tlie Pagans, in every province of the empire. From the 
zeal and virtues of their royal proselyte, they fondly expected 
the cure of every evil, and tlie restoration of every blessing; 
and instead of disap]>roving of tlie ardor of their pious wif^hes, 
Julian ingenuously confessed, that he was ambitious to attain 
a situation in wliich lie might be usefid to his country and 
to his religion. But this religion was viewed with a hostile 
eye by the successor of Constantine, whose capricious pas- 
sions alternately saved and threatened the life of Julian. 
The arts of magic and divination were strictly prohibited 
under a despotic government, which condescended to fear 
them ; and if the Pagans were reluctantly indulged in the 
exercise of their superstition, the rank of Julian would have 
excepted him from the general toleration. The apostate 
soon became the presumptive heir of the monarchy, and his 
deatli could alone have appeased the just apprehensions of 
the Christians.^^ But tlie young prince, who aspired to the 
glory of a hero rather than of a martyr, consulted his safety by 
dissembling his religion; and tlie easy temper of polytheism 
permitted him to join in the public worship of a sect which 
he inwardly despised. Libanius has considered the hypoc- 
risy of liis friend as a subject, not of censure, but of praise. 
" As the statues of the gods," says that orator, " wliich have 
been defiled with filth, are again placed in a magnificent 
temple, so the beauty of truth was seated in the mind of 
Julian, after it had been purified from the errors and follies 
of his education. His sentiments were changed ; but as it 
would have been dangerous to have avowed his sentiments, 
his conduct still continued the same. Very different from 
the ass in ^Esop, who disguised himself with a lion's hide, 
our lion was obliged to conceal himself under the skin of an 
ass; and, while he embraced the dictates of i-eason, to obey 
the laws of prudence and necessity." ^^ The dissimulation 
of Julian lasted above ten years, from his secret initiation at 
Epliesus to the beginning of the civil war; when he declared 
himself at once the implacable enemy of Christ and of Con- 
stantius. This state of constraint might contribute to 
strengthen his devotion ; and as soon as lie had sa^.isfied the 
obligation of assisting, on solemn festivals, at the assemblies 

28 Gregoi-y (iii. p. 50), with inhuman zeal, censures Constaiitius for ppariup- the 
infant apostate, (xaKOJ? cruj(^ci'Ta.) His French transUitor (p. '^6o) cautiously ob- 
serves, tliat such oxprost-ions must not be prises k la lettre. 

25 Libanius, Orat. Parental, c. ix. p. 233. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 315 

of the Christians, Julian returned, with the impatience of a 
lover, to burn his free and voluntary incense on the domestic 
chapels of Jupiter and Mercury. But as every act of dis- 
simulation must be painful to an ingenuous spirit, the pro- 
fession of Christianity increased the aversion of Julian for 
a religion which oppressed the freedom of his mind, and 
compelled him to hold a conduct re2>ugnant to the noblest 
attributes of liuman nature, sincerity and courage. 

The inclination of Julian might prefer the gods of Homer 
and of the Scipios, to the new faith, which his uncle had? 
established in the Roman emj^ire ; and in which he himself 
had been sanctified by the sacrament of baptism. But, as a 
philosopher, it was incumbent on him to justify his dissent 
from Christianity, which was supported by the number of 
its converts, by the chain of ])rophecy, the splendor of mir- 
acles, and the weight of evidence. The elaborate work,^*' 
which he composed amidst the preparations of the Persian 
Avar, contained the substance of those arguments which he 
had Ions: revolved in his mind. Some frao-ments have been 
transcribed and preserved, by his adversary, the vehement 
Cyril of Alexandria ;^^ and they exhibit a very singular mix- 
ture of wit and learning, of sophistry and fanaticism. Tiie 
elegance of the style and the rank of the author, recom- 
mended his writings to the ])ublic attention ;^^ and in the 
impious list of the enemies of Christianity, the celebrated 
name of Por|)hyry was effaced by the su])erior merit or repu- 
tation of Julian. The minds of the faithful were either 
seduced, or scandalized, or alarmed ; and the pagans, w^ho 
sometimes presumed to engage in the unequal dispute, de- 
rived, from the popular work of their Imperial missionary, 
an inexhaustible supply of fallacious objections. But in the 
assiduous prosecution of these theological studies, the em- 
peror of the Romans imbibedthe illiberal prejudices and pas- 
sions of a polemic divine. He contracted an irrevocable 
obligation to maintain and propagate his religious opinions; 
and whilst he secretly applauded the strength and dexterity 

30 Fabricius (Biblioth. Grpco. 1. v. c. viii. pp. 88-00) and Lardner (Heatlieu Tes- 
timonies, vol. iv. pp. 44-47) have accnrately compiled all that can now be discov- 
ered of Julian's work against the Christians. 

3' About seventy years iifter the death o£ Julian, he executed a task which had 
been feebly attempted by Philip of Side, a prolix and contemptible writer. Even 
the work of Cyril lias not entirely satisfied the most favorable judges; and the 
Abbe de la Bleterie (Preface a I'Hist. de. Jovien, pp. 30, .32) wishes that some fheo- 
logier philnsophr (a stange centaut) would undertake the refutation of Julian. 

32 ijhanius (Orat. Parental, c. Ixxxvii. p. .';];}), who has been suspected of as- 
sisting his friend, prefers this divine vindication (Orat. ix. in necem Julian, p. 
2")5, e<lit. Morel.), to the writings of Porphyry. His judgment maybe arraigned 
(Socrates, 1. in. c. 2.!), but Libanius cannot be accused of flattery to a dead prince. 



316 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

with which he wielded the weapons of controversy, he was 
tempted to distrust the sincerity, or to despise the under- 
standings, of his antagonists, who could obstinately resist 
the force of reason and eloquence. 

Tlie Christians, who beheld with horror and indignation 
the apostasy of Julian, had much more to fear from his power 
than from his arguments. The pagans, who were conscious 
of his fervent zeal, expected, perhaps with impatience, that 
the flames of persecution should be immediately kindled 
against the enemies of the gods; and that the ingenious 
malice of Julian would invent some cruel refinements of death 
and torture which had been unknown to the rude and inex- 
perienced fury of his predecessors. But the hopes, as well 
as the fears, of the religious factions were apparently disap- 
pointed, by the prudent humanity of a prince,^^ who was 
careful of his own fame, of the public peace, and of the 
rights of mankind. Instructed by history and reflection, 
Julian was persuaded, that if the diseases of the body may 
sometimes be cured by salutary violence, neither steel nor 
fire can eradicate the erroneous opinions of the mind. The 
reluctant victim may be dragged to the foot of the altar ; 
but the heart still abhors and disclaims the sacrilegious act 
of the hand. Religious obstinacy is hardened and exasper- 
ated by oppression ; and, as soon as the persecution subsides, 
those who have yielded are restored as penitents, and those 
who have resisted are honored as saints and martyrs. If 
Julian adopted the unsuccessful cruelty of Diocletian and 
his colleagues, he was sensible that he should stain his mem- 
ory with the name of a tyrant, and add new glories to the 
Catholic church, which had derived strength and increase 
from the severity of the pagan magistrates. Actuated by 
these motives, and apprehensive of disturbing the repose of 
an unsettled reign, Julian surprised the world by an edict, 
which Avas not unworthy of a statesman, or a philosopher. 
He extended to all the inhabitants of the Roman world tlie 
benefits of a free and equal toleration ; and the only hardship 
which he inflicted on the Christians, was to deprive them of 
the power of tormenting their fellow-subjects, whom they 
stigmatized with the odious titles of idolaters anrl heretics. 
The pagans received a gracious permission, or ratlier an ex- 

s' Liban ins (Or.it. Parent, c. Iviii. pp. 283, 284) har, «!loqueiitly explained the 
toleratinijc priiuiples and conduct of his Imperial friend. In a very remarkable 
epistle to tl>e people of IJostra. Julian himself (Kpist. lii.) professes his modera- 
tion, and betrays bis zeal, which is acknowledged by Annuianus, and exposed by 
Gregory (Orat. lii. p. 72.) 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 817 

press order, to open all their temples ; ^'* and they were at once 
delivered from the oppressive laws, and arbitrary vexations, 
whicli thev had sustained under tlie reio-n of Constantine, 
and of liis sons. At the same time, the bishops and cleriry, 
wlio had been banished by the Arian monarch, were recalled 
from exile, and restored to their respective churches; the 
Donatists, the Novatians, the Macedonians, the Eunomians, 
and those who, with a more prosperous fortune, adhered to 
the doctrine of the Council of Nice. Julian, who understood 
and derided their theological disputes, invited to the palace 
the leaders of the hostile sects, that he might enjoy the 
agreeable spectacle of their furious encounters. The clamor 
of controversy sometimes provoked the emperor to exclaim, 
"Hear me ! the Franks have heard me, and the Alemanni ;" 
but he soon discovered that he was now enG^ao^ed with more 
obstinate and im})lacable enemies ; and though he exerted 
the powers of oratory to persuade them to live in concord, 
or at least in peace, he was perfectly satisfied, before he dis- 
missed them from his presence, that he had nothing to dread 
from the union of tlie Chi'istians. The impartial Ammianus 
has ascribed this affected clemency to the desire of foment- 
ing the intestine divisions of the church, and the insidious 
design of undermining the foundations of Christianity, was 
inseparably connected with the zeal which Julian professed, 
to restore the ancient religion of the empire.^^ 

As soon as he ascended the throne, he assumed, accord- 
ing to the custom of his predecessors, the character of su- 
preme pontiff ; not only as the most honorable title of 
Imperial greatness, but as a sacred and important office ; the 
duties of which he was resolved to execute with pious dili- 
gence. As the business of the state prevented the emperor 
from joining every day in the public devotion of his sub- 
jects, he dedicated a domestic chapel to his tutelar deity 
the Sun ; his gardens were filled with statues and altars of 
the gods ; and each apartment of the palace displayed tlie 
appearance of a magnificent tem23le. Every morning he 

3* In Greece the temples of Minerva were opened by his express command, be- 
fore the deatli of (JJojistautius (Liban. Orat. Parent, c. 55, p. 2.''0) ; and rJuliaii de- 
clares himself a Pagan in his public manifesto to tlie Athenians. This unques- 
tionable evidence may correct the hasty assertion of Ammijuuis, who seems to 
suppose Constantinople to be the place where he discovered his attachment to the 
gods. 

3"' Ammianus, xxii. 5. Sozomen, 1. v. c. 5. Bestia moritur, tranquillitas redit 
* * * omnes episcopi qui de propriis sedibus fuerant exterminati })er indulgen- 
tiam novi jiriiicipis ad ecclesias redeunt. Jerom. adversus Luciferianos, lorn. ii. 
p. 143. Optatus accuses the Donatists for owing their safety to an apostate (1. ii. 
C. 16, pp. 36, 37, edit. Dupiu.) 



318 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

saluted the parent of light with a sacrifice ; the blood of 
another victim was shed at the moment when the Sun sunk 
below the liorizon ; and the Moon, the Stars, and the Genii 
of the night received their respective and seasonable honors 
from the indefatigable devotion of Julian. On solemn 
festivals, lie regularly visited the temple of the god or god- 
dess to whom the day was peculiarly consecrated, and en- 
deavored to excite the religion of the magistrates and peo- 
ple by the example of his own zeal. Instead of maintaining 
the lofty state of a monarch, distinguished by tlie splendor 
of his purple, and encompassed by the golden shields of his 
guards, Julian solicited, with respectful eagerness, the mean- 
est offices which contributed to the worship of the gods. 
Amidst the sacred but licentious crowd of priests, of inferior 
ministers, and of female dancers, wdio were dedicated to the 
service of the temple, it was the business of the emperor to 
bring the wood, to blow the fire, to handle the knife, to 
slaughter the victim, and, thrusting his bloody hands into 
the bowels of the expiring animal, to draw forth the heart 
or liver, and to read, with the consummate skill of an harus- 
pex, the imaginary signs of future events. The wisest of 
the Pagans censured this extravagant superstition, which 
affected to despise the restraints of prudence and decency. 
Under the reign of a prince. Mho practiced the rigid max- 
ims of economy, the expense of religious worship consumed 
a very large portion of the revenue ; a constant supply of 
the scarcest and most beautiful birds Avas transported from 
distant climates, to bleed on the altars of the gods; a hun- 
dred oxen were frequently sacrificed by Julian on one and 
the same day; and it soon became a popular jest, that if he 
should return with conquest from the Persian war, the breed 
of horned cattle must infallibly be extinguished. Yet this 
expense may appear inconsiderable, when it is compared 
with the splendid j^resents which were offered either by the 
hand, or by order, of the emperor, to all the celebrated 
places of devotion in the Roman world ; and with the sums 
allotted to repair and decorate the ancient temples, which 
had suffered the silent decay of time, or the recent injuries 
of Christian ra])ine. Encouraged by the example, the ex- 
liortations, the liberality, of their pious sovereign, the cities 
and families resumed the practice of their neglected cere- 
monies. " Every part of the world," exclaims Libanius, 
with devout transport, " displayed the triumph oi religion ; 
and the grateful prospect of flaming altars, bleeding victims, 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. 819 

the smoke of incense, and a solemn train of priests and 
prophets, without fear and without danger. The sound of 
prayer and of music was heard on the tops of the highest 
mountains ; and the same ox afforded a sacrifice for the 
gods, and a supper for their joyous votaries." ^^ 

But tl]e genius and power of Julian were unequal to the 
enterprise of restoring a religion which was destitute of 
theological principles, of moral precepts, and of ecclesiasti- 
cal discipline ; Avhich rapidly hastened to decay and dissolu- 
tion, and was not susceptible of any solid or consistent 
reformation. The jurisdiction of the supreme pontiff, more 
especially after that office had been united with the Imperial 
dignity, comprehended the whole extent of the Roman em- 
pire. Julian named for his vicars, in the several provinces, 
the priests and philosophers whom he esteemed the best 
qualified to cooperate in the execution of his great design ; 
and his pastoral letters,^^ if we may use that name, still re- 
present a very curious sketch of his wishes and intentions. 
lie directs, that in every city the sacerdotal order should be 
composed, without any distinction of birth or fortune, of 
those persons who were the most conspicuous for their love 
of the gods, and of men. "If they are guilty," continues 
he, " of any scandalous offence, they should be censured or 
degraded by the superior pontiff ; but as long as they retain 
their rank, they are entitled to the respect of the magistrates 
and people. Their humility may be shown in the plainness 
of their domestic garb; their dignity, in the pomp of holy 
vestments. When they are summoned in their turn to 
ofiiciate before the altar, they ought not, during the appointed 
number of days, to depart from the precincts of the temple ; 
nor should a single day be suffered to elapse, without the 
prayers and the sacrifice, which they are obliged to offer for 
the prosperity of the state, and of individuals. The exercise 
of their sacred functions requires an immaculate purity, 
both of mind and body ; and even when they are dismissed 
from the temple to the occupations of common life, it is 

8" The restoration of tlie Pagan worship is described by Julian (Misopogon, p. 
346), J^ibanius (Orat. Paretit. c. 60, pp. 286, 287, and Orat. Consular, ad Julian, pp. 
245, 216, edit. Morel.), AnimianuB (xxii. 12), and Gregory Naziauzen (Orat. iv. p. 
121). These writers agree in the essential, and even minute, facts ; but the dif- 
ferent lights in which tliey view the extnime devc tion of Julian, are expressive 
of the gradations of self-applause, passionate admiration, mild reproof and par- 
tial invective. ^ 

3^ See Julian. Epistol. xlix. Ixii. Ixiii., and along and curious fragment, with- 
out beginning or end (pp. 288-305). The supreme pontiff derides the Mosaic liistory 
and the Christian discipline, prefers the Greek poets to the Hebrew prophets, and 
palliates vt'ith the skill of a Jesuit, the relative worship of images. 



320 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

incumbent on them to excel in decency and virtue tlie rest 
of their fellow-citizens. The priest of the gods should never 
be seen iii theatres or taverns. His conversation should be 
chaste, his diet temperate, his friends of honorable reputa- 
tion ; and if he sometimes visits the Forum or the Palace, he 
should appear only as the advocate of those who have vainly 
solicited either justice or mercy. His studies should be suited 
to the sanctity of his profession. Licentious tales, or com- 
edies, or satires, must be banished from his library, which 
ought solely to consist of historical and philosophical writ- 
ings ; of history, which is founded in truth, and of philos- 
ophy, which is connected with religion. The impious opin- 
ions of the Epicureans and skeptics deserve his abhorrence 
and contempt ; ^ but he should diligently study the sys- 
tems of Pythagoras, of Plato, and of the Stoics, which 
unanimously teach that there are gods ; that the world is 
governed by their providence ; that their goodness is the 
source of every temporal blessing; and that they have pre- 
pared for the human soul a future state of reward or pun- 
ishment." The Imperial pontiff inculcates, in the most per- 
suasive language, the duties of benevolence and hospitality ; 
exhorts his inferior clergy to recommend the universal prac- 
tice of those virtues ; promises to assist their indigence from 
the public treasury; and declares his resolution of establish- 
ing hospitals in every city, where the poor should be re- 
ceived without any invidious distinction of country or of 
religion. Julian beheld with envy the wise and humane 
regulations of the church : and he very frankly confesses 
his intention to deprive the Christians of the applause, as 
well as advantage, which they had acquired by the exclusive 
practice of charity and beneficence.^'-* The same spirit of 
imitation might dispose the emperor to adopt several eccle- 
siastical institutions, the use and importance of which were 
approved by the success of his enemies. But if these im- 
aginary plans of reformation had been realized, the forced 
and imperfect copy would have been less beneficial to 

S8 The exultation of Julian (p. 301) ihot tl>PSO impious sects, and even their 
writings, are exti!)guishecl,niay be consiH^c't e"oug)i wiih the sacerdotal charac- 
ter ; but it is unv\orthy of a philosophe'* to wish that any opiiiiousaud arguments 
the most repugnant to his own should be concealed from the knowledge of man- 
kind. 

3' Yet he insinuates, that the Christians, under the pretence of charity, inveigled 
children from their religion aud parents, conveyed them on shipboard, and 
devoted those victims to a life of poverty or servitude in a remote country 
(p. 305). Had the charge J)een proved it Was his duty, not to complain, but to 
punish. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 821 

Paganism, than honorable to Christianity.''^ The Gentiles, 
who peaceably followed the customs of their ancestors, were 
rather surprised than pleased with the introduction of foreign 
manners ; and, in the short period of his reign, Julian had 
frequent occasions to complain of the want of fervor of his 
own party .^^ 

The enthusiasm of Julian prompted him to embrace the 
friends of Jupiter as his personal friends and brethren ; and 
though he partially ovei-looked the merit of Christian con- 
stancy, he admired and rewarded the noble perseverance of 
those Gentiles who had preferred the favor of the gods to 
that of the emperor.^^ If they cultivated the literature, as 
well as the religion, of the Greeks, they acquired an additional 
claim to the friendship of Julian, who ranked the Muses in 
the number of his tutelar deities. In the religion which he 
had adopted, piety and learning were almost synonymous ; ^^ 
and a crowd of poets, of rhetoricians and of philosophers, 
hastened to the Imperial court, to occupy the vacant places 
of the bishops, who had seduced the credulity of Constantius. 
His successor esteemed the ties of common initiation as far 
more sacred than those of consanguinity ; he chose his fav- 
orites among the sages, who were deeply skilled in the occult 
sciences of magic and divination ; and every impostor, who 
pretended to reveal the secrets of futurity, was assured of 
enjoying the present hour in honor and affluence."*^ Among 
the philosophers, Maximus obtained the most eminent rank 
in the friendship of his royal disciple, who communicated, 
with unreserved confidence, his actions, his sentiments, and 
his religious designs, during the anxious suspense of the civil 
war.^^ As soon as Julian had taken possession of the palace 
of Constantinople, he despatched an honorable and pressing 

4'> Gregory Nazianzeri is facetious, ingenious, a,nd argumentative (Orat. iii. pp. 
101, 102, &c.). He ridicules the folly of such vain iinitation ; and amuses himself 
with inquiring, what lessons, moral or theological^ could be extracted from the 
(Grecian fables. 

41 He accuses one of his pontiffs of a secret confederacy with the Christian 
bishops and presbyters (Epist. Ixiiv). 'Opdw ovu ■noWtji' /u.ei/ 6At7<optav ovaav r\^lv 
Trpo? Toii? ^ebus, and again, rj/ua? hi ouTo paflufAw?, &c- Epist. Ixiii. 

42 He praises the fidelity of Callixeue, priestess of Ceres, who had been twice 
as constant as Penelope, and rewards her with the priesthood of the Phrygian 
goddess at Pessinus (Julian. Epist. xxi). He applauds the lirmness of Sopaterof 
Hierapolis, who had been repeatedly pressed by Constantius and Gallus to apos- 
tatize (Epist. xxvii. p. 401). 

43 ' O 66 i/o/xi^a)>' aSe\(f>a Adyous re Kal ^euiv 'iepa. Orat. Parent. C. 77, p. 302. The 

same sentiment is frequently inculcated by Julian, Libanius, and the rest of their 
party. 

44 xhe curiosity and credulity of the emperor, who tried every mode of divina- 
tion, are fairly exposed by Ammianus, xxii. 12. 

^^ Julian. Epist. xxxviii. Three other epistles (xv. xvi. xxxix.), in the same 
Style of f riendship an<l confidence, are addressed to the philosopher Maximus. 

Vol. II.— 21 



322 THE DECLINE AXD FALL ( 

invitation to Maximus, who then resided at Sardes in Lydia, 
with Chrysanthius, the associate of his art and studies. Tlie 
prudent and superstitious Chrysanthius refused to undertake 
a journey which showed itself, according to the rules of 
divination, with the most threatening and malignant aspect : 
but his companion, whose fanaticism was of a bolder cast, 
persisted in his interrogations, till he had extorted from the 
gods a seeming consent to his own wishes, and those of the 
emperor. The journey of Maximus through the cities of 
Asia displayed the triumph of philosophic vanity ; and the 
magistrates vied with each other in the honorable reception 
which they prepared for the friend of their sovereign. Julian 
was pronouncing an oration before the senate, when he was 
informed of the arrival of Maximus. The emperor immedi- 
ately interrupted his discourse, advanced to meet him, and 
after a tender embrace, conducted him by the hand into the 
midst of the assembly ; where he publicly acknowledged the 
benefits which he had derived from the instructions of the 
philosopher. Maximus,^^ who soon acquired the confidence, 
and influenced the councils, of Julian, was insensibly cor- 
rupted by the temptations of a court. His dress became 
more splendid, his demeanor more lofty, and he was exposed, 
under a succeeding reign, to a disgraceful inquiry into the 
means by which the disciple of Plato had accumulated, in 
the short duration of his favoi*, a very scandalous proportion 
of wealth. Of the other philosophers and sophists, who were 
invited to the Imperial residence by the choice of Julian, or 
by the success of Maximus, few were able to preserve their 
innocence or their reputation.^^ The liberal gifts of money, 
lands, and houses, were insuflicient to satiate their repacious 
avarice ; and the indignation of the people was justly excited 
by the remembrance of their abject poverty and disinter- 
ested professions. The penetration of Julian could not al- 
ways be deceived : but he was unwilling to despise the char- 
ts Ennapius* (in Maximo, pp. 77, 78, 79, and in Clirysanthio, pp. 147, 148) has 
minutely related these anecdotes, which he conceives to be the most important 
events of the age. Yet he fairly confesses the frailty of Maximus. His reception 
at Constantinople is described by Libanxus (Orat. Parent, c. 76, p. 301) and Amnii- 
anus (xxii. 7). 

" Chrysanthius, who had refused to quit Lydia, was created high priest of the 
province. His cautious and temperate use of power secured him after the revo- 
lution ; and he lived in peace, while Maximus, Prisons. (Src, were persecuted by 
the Christian ministers. See the adventures of those fanatic sophists, collected 
by Brucker, torn. ii. pp. 281-293. 



* Eunapius wrote a continuation of the History of Dexippus. Some valuable 
fragments of this work have been recovered by M. Mai, and reprinted in Niebuhr'a 
edition of the Byzantine Historians.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. ' 323 

acters of those men whose talents deserved his esteem ; he 
desired to escape the double reproach of imprudence and 
inconstancy ; and he was apprehensive of degrading, in the 
eyes of the profane, the honor of letters and of religion.^^ 

The favor of Julian was almost equally divided between 
the Pagans, who had firmly adhered to the worship of their 
ancestors, and the Christians, who prudently embraced the 
religion of their sovereign. The acquisition of new prose- 
1} tes ^^ gratified the ruling passions of his soul, superstition 
and vanity ; and he was heard to declare, with the enthusiasm 
of a missionary, that if he could render each individual 
richer than Midas, and every city greater than Babylon, he 
should not esteem himself the benefactor of mankind, unless, 
at the same time, he could reclaim his subjects from their 
impious revolt against the immortal gods.^^ A prince who 
had studied human nature, and who possessed the treasures 
of the Roman empire, could adapt his arguments, his prom- 
ises, and his rewards, to every order of Christians ; ^^ and 
the merit of a seasonable conversion was allowed to supply 
the defects of a candidate, or even to expiate the guilt of a 
criminal. As the army is the most forcible engine of abso- 
lute power, Julian applied himself, with peculiar diligence, 
to corrupt the religion of his troops, without whose hearty 
concurrence every measure must be dangerous and unsuc- 
cessful; and the natural temper of soldiers made this con- 
quest as easy as it was important. The legions of Gaul de- 
voted themselves to the faith, as well as to the fortunes, of 
their victorious leader ; and even before the death of Con- 
stantius, he had the satisfaction of announcing to his friends, 
that they assisted with fervent devotion, and voracious ap- 
petite, at the sacrifices, which were repeatedly offered in his 
camp, of whole hecatombs of fat oxen.^^ The armies of the 

*» See Libauius (Orat. Parent, c. 101, 102, pp. 324, 325, 326) and Eunapius (Vit. 
Sophist, in Pvoseresio, p. 126). Some students, whose expectations perhaps were 
groundless, or extravagant, retired in disgust (Gi eg. Kaz. Orat. iv. p. 120). It is 
strange that we should not be able to contradict the title of one of Tillemont'a 
chapters (Hist, des Empereurs, torn. iv. p. 960), "La Cour de Julien est pleine de 
philosophes et de gens perdus." 

49 Under the reign of Lewis XIV. his subjects of every rank aspired to the 
glorious title of Convertisseur, expressive of their zeal and success in making 
proselytes. The word and the idea are growing obsolete in France ; may they 
never be introduced into England. 

•""'O See the strong expressions of Libanius, which were probably those of Julian 
himself (Orat. Parent, c. 59, p. 285). 

51 When Gregorv Nazianzen (Orat. x.p. 1C7) is desirous to magnify the Christian 
firmness of his brother Caesarius. physician to the Imperial court, he owns that 
Casarius disputed with a formidable adversary', ttoAw iv bn-Ao«r, (cal fjifyav 
if Xoyuiv Seit/oTrjTi. lu his invcctives he scarcely allows any share of wit or courage 
to the apostate. 

62 Julian. Epist. xxxviii. Ammianus, xxii. 12. Adeo ut in dies psenesingu^oa 



324 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

East, which aad been trained under the standard of the cross 
and of Constantius, required a more artful and expensive 
mode of persuasion. On the days of solemn and public fes- 
tivals, the emperor received the homage, and rewarded the 
merit, of the troops. His throne of state was encircled with 
the military ensigns of Rome and the republic; tlie holy 
name of Christ was erased from the Laharum ; and the 
symbols of war, of majesty, and of pagan superstition, were 
so dexterously blended, that the faithful subject incurred the 
guilt of idolatry, when he respectfully saluted the person or 
image of his sovereign. The soldiers passed successively in 
review : and each of them, before he received from the hand 
of Julian a liberal donative, proportioned to his rank and 
services, was required to cast a few grains of incense into 
the flame which burnt upon the altar. Some Christian con- 
fessors might resist, and others might repent ; but the far 
greater number, allured by the prospect of gold, and awed 
by the presence of the emperor, contracted the criminal en- 
gagement ; and their future perseverance in the worship of 
the gods was enforced by every consideration of duty and 
of interest. By the frequent repetition of these arts, and at 
the expense of sums which would have purchased the service 
of half the nations of Scythia, Julian gradually acquired 
for his troops the imaginary protection of the gods, and for 
himself the firm and effectual support of the Roman legions.^ 
It is indeed more than probable, that the restoration and en- 
ciouragement of Paganism revealed a multitude of pretended 
Christians who, from motives of temporal advantage, liad 
acquiesced in the religion of the former reign ; and who 
afterwards returned, with the same flexibility of conscience, 
to the faith which was professed by the successors of Julian. 
While the devout monarch incessantly labored to restore 
and propagate the religion of his ancestors, he embraced 
the extraordinary design of rebuilding the temple of Jeru- 
salem. In a public ej^istle^^ to the nation or community of 

militoscarnisdistentiore sagina victitantesincultius, potusque aviditate correpti, 
liumeris impositi traiiseuiitium per plateas, ex publici.i sedibiis. . . ad sua diver- 
soria portarentur. The devout prince and the indignant historian describe the 
same scene ; aud in Illyricum or Antiocb, similar causes must have produced 
similar effects. 

^3 Gregory (,Orat. iii. pp. 74, 75, 83-86) and Libanius (Orat. Parent, c. Ixxxi. 

Ixxxii. pp. 307. 308), Trtpi Taur-rji' T»)i' o'TToOSrji', ovK api'oOjuac ttAoutoi' a.vr,KuiaQ(x\. /meyaf. 

The sophist owns and justifies the expense of these military conversions. 

M Julian's epistle (xxv.) is addressed to the community of the Jews, Aldus 
(Venet. 1499) has branded it with an ec yi'ijaio? .- but this stigma is justly removed 
by the subsequent editors, Petavius andSpanheim, This epistle is mentioned by 
Sozomen (1. v. c. 22). and the purport of it is coutirmed by Gregory <^Orat. iv. p, 
111), and by Julian himself (Fragment, p. 295). 



OF THE rOMAN EMPIRE. 325 

the Jews, dispersed through the provinces, he pities their 
misfortunes, condemns their oppressors, praises their con- 
stancy, declares himself their gracious protector, and ex- 
presses a j)ious hope, that after his return from the Persian 
war, he may be ])ermitted to pay his grateful vows to the 
Ahniglity in his holy city of Jerusalem The blind super- 
stition, and abject slavery, of those unfortunate exiles, must 
excite the contempt of a philosophic emperor; but they 
deserved the friendship of Julian, by their implacable hatred 
of the Christian name. The barren synagogue abhorred and 
envied the fecundity of the rebellious church : the power of 
the Jews was not equal to their malice ; but their gravest 
rabbis approved the i)rivate murder of an apostate;''^ and 
their seditious clamors had often awakened the indolence of 
the Pagan magistrates. Under the reign of Constantine, 
the Jews became the subjects of their revolted children ; 
nor was it long before they experienced the bitterness of 
domestic tyranny. The civil immunities which had been 
granted, or confirmed, by Severus, were gradually repeafed 
by the Christian princes ; and a rash tumult, excited by the 
Jews of Palestine,^^ seemed to justify the lucrative mqdes of 
oppression which were invented by the bishops and eunuchs 
of the court of Constantius. The Jewish patriarch, who 
was still ])ermitted to exercise a precarious jurisdiction, held 
his residence at Tiberias ;^'^ and the neighboring cities of 
Palestine were filled with the remains of a people who 
fondly adhered to the promised land. But the edict of 
Hadrian was renewed and enforced : and thev viewed from 
afar the walls of the holy city, which were profaned in their 
eyes by the triumph of the cross and the devotion of the 
Christians.^^ 

In the midst of a rocky and barren country, the walls of 
Jerusalem ^^ enclosed the two mountains of Sion and Acra, 
within an oval figure of about three English miles.^ Towards 

55 The Misnah denounced death against those who abandoned the foundation. 
The judgment of zeal is explained by Marsham (Canon. Chron. pp. IGl, 162, edit, 
1<>1. London, 1072") and Basnage (Hist, des Juifs, tonj. viii- p. 120). Constantine 
nmd(^ a law to protect Christian converts from Judaism. Cod. Tlieod. 1. xvi. tit. 
viii. leg. 1. CJodefroy, torn. vi. p. 215. 

"^ Kt interea (during the civil war of Magnentius) JudjEorum seditio, quiPatri- 
cium, nefarie in regni speciem sustulerunt, oppressa. Aurelius Victor, in Con- 
stantio, c. xlii. See Tillemont. Hist, des Kmpe ears, torn. iv. p. 379, in 4to. 

»' The city and synagogue of Tiberias are curiously described by Keland. Pal- 
estin. torn. if. pi). I(i.'^6-ini2. 

^ Basnage has fully illustrated tliestate of the Jews under Constantine andhia 
Buccessors (torn. viii. c. iv. pp. lll-l.'j.^). 

69 Reland (Palestin. 1. i. pp. 300, 390. 1. iii. p. s:iS) describes, with learning and 
perspicuity, Jerusalem, and the face of the adjacent country. 

60 1 have consulted a rare and curious treatise of M. D'Ajiville (sur I'Ancienno 



326 THE DECLINE AND TALL' 

the south, the upper town, and the fortress of David were 
erected on the lofty ascent of Mount Sion ; on the north 
side, tlie buildings of the lower town covered the spacious 
summit of Mount Acra ; and a part of the hill, distinguished 
by the name of Moriah, and levelled by human industry, 
was crowned with the stately temple of the Jewish nation. 
After the final destruction of the temple by the arms of 
Titus and Hadrian, a ploughshare was drawn over the con- 
secrated ground, as a sign of perpetual interdiction. Sion 
was deserted ; and the vacant space of the lower city was 
filled with the public and private edifices of the ^lian col- 
ony, which spread themselves over the adjacent hill of Cal- 
vary. The holy places were polluted with monuments of 
idolatry ; and, either from design or accident, a chapel was 
dedicated to Venus, on the spot which had been sanctified 
by the death and resurrection of Christ. ^^ * Almost three 
hundred years after those stupendous events, the profane 
chapel of Venus was demolished by the order of Con- 
stantine ; and the removal of the earth and stones revealed 
the holy sepulchre to the eyes of mankind. A magnificent 
church was erected on that mystic ground, by the first 
Christian emperor ; and the effects of his pious munificence 
were extended to every spot which had been consecrated by 
the footsteps of patriarchs, of prophets, and of the Son of 
God.«^ 

The passionate desire of contemplating the original 
monuments of their redemption attracted to Jerusalem a 
successive crowd of pilgrims, from the shores of the Atlan- 
tic Ocean, and the most distant countries of the East :^^ and 

Jerusalem, Paris, 1747, p. 75). The circumference of the ancient city (Euseb. Pre- 
parat. Evangel. 1. ix. c. 3G~: was 27 stadia, or 2550 toises. A plan, taken on the spot, 
assigns no more than 1980 for the modern town. The circuit is defined by natural 
landmarks, which cannot be mistaken or removed. 

♦'1 See two curious passages in Jerom (tera.l. p. 102, torn. vi. p. 315), and the 
ample details of Tillemont (Hist, des Empereurs, torn, i. p. 569, tom. ii. pp. 2fc9, 
294, 4to edition). 

^2 Eusebius in Vit. Constantln. 1. iii. c. 25-41 , 51-53. The emperor likewise built 
churches at Bethleni,the INlount of Olives, and the oak of Mambre. The holy 
sepulchre is described by Sandys (Travels, pp. 125-133), and curiously delineated 
by L,e Bruyn (Voyage au Levant, pp. 288-296). 

*^ The Itinerarv from Bordeaux to Jerusalem was composed in the year 333. for 
the use of pilgrims ; among whom Jerom (tom. i p. 126) mentions the Britons and 
the Indians. The causes of this superstitious fashion are discussed in the learned 
and judicious preface of Wesseling (Itinerar. pp. 5.^7-545). t 



*0n the site of the Holy Sepulchre, compare the chapter in Professor Robin- 
son's Travels in Palestine, which has renewed the old controverey with great vigor. 
To me, this temple of Venus, said to have been erected by Hadrian to insult the 
Christians, is not the least suspicious part of the whole legend. — M. 1845. 

t Much curious information on this subject is collected iu the first chapter of 
"Wilken, Geschichte der Kreuzziige,— M, 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 327 

their piety was authorized by the example of the empress 
Helena, who appears to have united the credulity of age 
with the warm feelings of a recent conversion. Sages and 
heroes, who have visited the memorable scenes of ancient 
wisdom or glory, have confessed the inspiration of the genius 
of the place f* and the Christian who knelt before the holy 
sepulchre, ascribed his lively faith, and his fervent devotion, 
to the more immediate influence of the Divine Spirit. The zeal 
perhaps the avarice, of the clergy of Jerusalem, cherished 
and multiplied these beneficial visits. They fixed, by un- 
questionable tradition, the scene of each memorable event. 
They exhibited the instruments which had been used in 
the passion of Christ; the nails and the lance that had 
pierced his hands, his feet, and his side ; the crown of thorns 
that was planted on his head; the pillar at which he was 
scourged ; and, above all, they showed the cross on which 
he suffered, and which was dug out of the earth in the reign 
of those princes, who inserted the symbol of Christianity in 
the banners of the Roman legions.^ Such miracles as 
seemed necessary to account for its extraordinary preserva- 
tion, and seasonable discovery, were gradually propagated 
without opposition. The custody of the true cross^ which 
on Easter Sunday was solemnly exposed to the people, was 
intrusted to the bishop of Jerusalem ; and he alone might 
gratify the curious devotion of the pilgrims, by the gift of 
small pieces, which they enchased in gold or gems, and car- 
ried away in triumph to their respectives countries. But 
as this gainful branch of commerce must soon have been 
annihilated, it was found convenient to suppose, that the 
marvellous wood possessed a secret power of vegetation ; 
and that its substance, though continually diminished, still 
remained entire and unimi^aired.*^® It might perhaps have 

w Cicero (de Finibus, v. 1) has beautifully expressed the common sense of man- 
kind. 

^•' Baronius (Annal. Eccles. A. D. 326, No- 42-50) and Tillemont (Mem Eccles. 
torn. vii. pp. 8-16) are the historians and champions of the miraculous invention 
of the cross, under tbe reign of Constantine. Their oldest witnesses are Paulinus, 
Sulpicius Severus, Rufinas, Ambrose, and perhaps Cyril of Jerusalem. The 
silence of Eusebius, and the Bordeaux pilgrim, which satisfies those who think, 
perplexes those who believe. See Jortin's sensible remarks, vol. ii. pp. 238-248. 

6o 'fiiig naultiplication is asserted by Paulinus (Epist. xxxvi. See Dupin. Bib- 
liot. Eccles. torn, iii. p. 149), who seems to have improved a rhetorical tlourisli of 
Cyril into a real fact. The same supernatural privilege must have been com- 
niunicated to the Virgin's milk (Erasmi Opera, torn. i. p. 778, Lugd. Batav. 1703, 
in C'oUoq. de Peregrinat, Religionis ergo), saints' heads, &c., and other relics, 
which are repeated in so many dilTernt churches.* 



* Lord Mahon, in a memoir read before the Society of Antiquaries (Feb. 1831), 
has traced, in a brief but interesting manner, the singular adventures of the 
"true "cross. It is curious to inquire, what authority we have, except of late 



328 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

been expected, that the influence of the place and the belief 
of a perpetual miracle, should have produced some salutary- 
effects on the morals, as well as on the faith, of the people. 
Yet the most respectable of the ecclesiastical writers have 
been obliged to confess, not only that the streets of Jeru- 
salem w^ere filled with the incessant tumult of business and 
pleasure,^^ but that every species of vice — adultery, theft, 
idolatry, poisoning, murder — was familiar to the inhabitants 
of the holy city.^^ The wealth and preeminence of the 
church of Jerusalem excited the ambition of Arian, as well 
as orthodox, candidates ; and the virtues of Cyril, who, 
since his death, has been honored with the title of Saint, 
w^ere displayed in the exercise, rather than in the acquisi- 
tion, of his episcopal dignity.^ 

The vain and ambitious mind of Julian might aspire to 
restore the ancient glory of the temple of Jerusalem."^ As 
the Christians were firmly persuaded that a sentence of 
everlasting destruction had been pronounced against the 
whole fabric of the Mosaic law, the Imperial sophist would 
have converted the success of his undertaking into a spe- 
cious argument against the faith of prophecy, and the truth 
of revelation.^^ He was displeased with the spiritual wor- 
ship of the synagogue ; but he approved the institutions of 
Moses, who had not disdained to adopt many of the rites 
and ceremonies of Egypt.'^ The local and national deity of 

^T Jerom (torn. i. p. 103), who resided in the neighboring village of Bethlem, 
describes the vices of Jerusalem from hispersoiial experience. 

6^ Gregor. Nyssen, apud Wesseling, p. 539- The whole epistle, which con- 
demns either the use or the abuse of religious pilgrimage, is painful to the Cath- 
olic divines, while it is dear and familiar to our Protestant polemics. 

C9 He renounced his orthodox ordination, officiated as a deacon, and was re- 
ordained by the hands of the Arians. But Cyril afterwards changed with the 
times, and prudently conformed to the ^icene faith. Tillemont (Mem. Eccles. 
torn, viii), who treats his memory with tenderness and respect, has thrown his 
virtues into the text, and his faults into the notes, in decent obscurity, at the end 
of the volume. 

""> Imperii sui memoriam magnitudine operum gestiens propagare. Ammian. 
xxiii. 1. Tlie temple of Jerusalem had been famous even among the Gentiles, 
They had many temples in each citv (at Sichem five, at Gaza eight, at Rome four 
hundred and twenty-four) ; but the wealth and religion of the Jewish nation 
was centred in one spot. 

71 The secret intentions of Julian are revealed by the late bishop of Glouces- 
ter, the learned and dogmatic AVarburton ; who, with the authority of a theol- 
ogian, pres<'ribes the motives and conduct of the Supreme Being. The discourse 
entitled ./«/ia?j (2d edition, London, 1751) is strongly marked with all the peculi- 
arities which are imputed to the Warburtonian school. 

72 1 shelter myself behind ]\Iaimonides, Marsham, Spencer, Le Clerc, Warbur- 
ton, &c., who have fairly derided the tears, the folly, and the falsehood of gome 
superstitious divines. See Divine Legation, vol. iv. p. 25, &c. 



tradition, for the Hill of Calvary. There is none in the sacred writings ; the 
uniform use of the common word rorro?, instead of any word expressing ascent or 
acclivity, is against the notion. — M. 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 829 

the Jews was sincerely adored by a polytheist, who desired 
only to multiply the number of the gods ;"^ and such was the 
appetite of Julian for bloody sacrifice, that his emulation 
might be excited by the piety of Solomon, who had offered, 
at the feast of the dedication, twenty-two thousand oxen, 
and one hundred and twenty thousand sheep.''* These con- 
siderations might influence his designs ; but the prospect of 
an immediate and important advantage would not suffer 
the impatient monarch to expect the remote and uncertain 
event of the Persian war. He resolved to erect, without 
delay, on the commanding eminence of Moriah, a stately 
temple, which might eclipse the splendor of the church 
of the Resurrection on the adjacent hill of Calvary ; tO 
establish an order of priests, whose interested zeal would 
detect the arts, and resist the ambition, of their Christian 
rivals ; and to invite a numerous colony of Jews, whose 
stern fanaticism would be always prepared to second, and 
even to anticipate, the hostile measures of the Pagan gov- 
ernment. Among the friends of the emperor (if the names 
of emperor, and of friend, are not incompatible) the first 
place was assigned, by Julian himself, to the virtuous and 
learned Alypius."^^ The humanity of Alypius was tempered 
by severe justice and manly fortitude; and while he exer- 
cised his abilities in the civil administration of Britain, he 
imitated, in his poetical compositions, the harmony and 
softness of the odes of Sappho. This minister, to whom 
Julian communicated, without reserve, his most careless 
levities, and his most serious counsels, received an extraor- 
dinary commission to restore, in its pristine beauty, the 
temple of Jerusalem ; and the diligence of Alypius required 
and obtained the strenuous support of the governor of 
Palestine. At the call of their great deliverer, the Jcavs, 
from all the provinces of the empire, assembled on the holy 

" Julian (Fragment, p. 295) respectfully styles him ^te'ya? ^eo?, and mentions 
him elsewhere (Epist. Ixiii.) with still higher reverence. He doubly condemns 
the Christians, for believing, and for renouncing, the religion of the Jews. 
Their Deity was a true, but not the ojibfy God. Apud Cyril. 1. ix. pp. .305, 3( 6. 

7* 1 Kings, viii. C3. 2 Chronicles, vii. 5. Joseph. Antiquitat, Judaic. 1. viii. c. 
4, p. 431, edit. Havercamp. As tlie blood and smoke of so many hecatombs might 
be inconvenient, Lightfoot, the Christian Kabbi, removes them by a miracle. Le 
Clerc (ad loca) is bold enough to suspect the fidelity of the numbers.* 

''"•> Julian, epist. xxix. xxx. La Bleterie has neglected to translate the second 
of these epistles. 



* According to the historian Kotobeddym, quoted by Burckhardt (Travels 
in Arabia, p. 276), the Khalif Mokteder sacrificed, during his pilgrimage to 
Mecca, in the year of the Hejira 350, forty thousand camels and cows, and fifty 
thousand sheep. Barthema describes thirty thousand oxen slain, and their car* 
casses giveu to the poor. Quarterly Keview, xiii. p. 39.— M. 



330 THE DECLIXE AND FALL 

mountain of their fathers ; and their insolent triumph 
alarmed and exasperated the Christian inhabitants of Jeru- 
salem. The desire of rebuilding the temple has in every 
age been the ruling passion of the children of Israel. In 
this j)ropitious moment the men forgot their avarice, and 
the women their delicacy ; spades and pickaxes of silver 
were provided by the vanity of the rich, and the rubbisli 
was transported in mantles of silk and purple. Every 
purse was opened in liberal contributions, every hand 
claimed a share in the pious labor ; and the commands of a 
great monarch were executed by the enthusiasm of a whole 
people."^^ 

Yet, on this occasion, the joint efforts of power and 
enthusiasm were unsuccessful ; and the ground of the 
Jewish temple, which is now covered by a Mahometan 
mosque,'^ still continued to exhibit the same edifying spec- 
tacle of ruin and desolation. Perhaps the absence and 
death of the emperor, and the new maxims of a Christian 
reign, might explain the interruption of an arduous work, 
which was attempted only in the last six months of the life 
of Julian."^ But the Christians entertained a natural and 
pious expectation, that, in this memorable contest, the 
honor of religion would be vindicated by some signal 
miracle. An earthquake, a whirlwind, and a fiery eruption, 
which overturned and scattered the new foundations of the 
temple, are attested, with some variations, by contemporary 
and respectable evidence.'^ This public event is described 
by Ambrose,^^ bishop of Milan, in an epistle to the emperor 
Theodosius, which must proA'oke the severe animadversion 
of the Jews ; by the eloquent Chrysostom,^^ who might 

75 See the zeal and impatience of tlie Jews in Gregory Nazianzen. Orat. iv. p, 
111) and Theodoret (1. iii, c. 20), 

'J^ Built by Omar, the second Khalif, who died A, D. 644. This great mosque 
covers the whole consecrated ground of the Jewish temple, and constitutes al- 
most a square of 760 toises, or oue Roman mile in circumference. See D'Anville, 
Jerusalem, p. 45. 

'8 Ammiauus records the consuls of the year 363, before he proceeds to men- 
tion the thouphts of Julian. Templum .... instaurare suniptibus cor/itabat 
imraodicis, Warburton has a secret wish to anticipate the design ; but he must 
have understood, from former examples, that the execution of such a work would 
have demanded many years. 

'9 The subsequent witnesses, Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret. Philostorgius, &c., 
add contradictions rather than authority. Compare the objections of Basnage 
(Hist, des Juifs, torn. viii. pp. 157-168) with Warbnrton's answers (Julian, pp. 174- 
258). The bishop has ingeniously explained the miraculous crosses which ap- 
peared on the garments of the spectators by a similar instance, and the natural 
effects of lightning. 

8'J Ambros. tom. ii. epist. xl. p. 946, edit. Benedictin. He composed this fanatic 
epistle (A. D. 388) to justify a bishop who had been condemned by the civil mag- 
istrate for burning a synagogue. 

81 Chrysostom, tom. i. p. 580, advers. Judseos et Gentes, tom. ii. p. 574, de Sto 



OP THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 331 

appeal to the memory of the elder part of his congregation 
at Antioch ; and by Gregory Nazianzen,^^ who published 
his account of the miracle before the expiration of the same 
year. The last of these writers has boldly declared, that 
this praeternatural event was not disputed by the infidels ; 
and his assertion, strange as it may seem, is confirmed by 
the unexceptionable testimony of Ammianus Marcellinus^^^ 
The philosophic soldier, who loved the virtues, without 
adopting the prejudices, of his master, has recorded, in his 
judicious and candid history of his own times, the extraor- 
dinary obstacles which interrupted the restoration of the 
temple of Jerusalem. " Whilst Alypius, assisted by the 
governor of the province, urged, with vigor and diligence, the 
execution of the work, horrible balls of fire breaking out near 
the foundations, with frequent and reiterated attacks, render- 
ed the place, from time to time, inaccessible to the scorched 
and blasted workmen ; and the victorious element continuing 
in this manner obstinately and resolutely bent, as it were, to 
drive them to a distance, the undertaking was abandoned." * 

Babyla, edit. Montfau9on. I Lave followed the common and natural siipposi 
tioii ; but the learned Benedictine, who dates the composition of these sermons 
in the year 383, is confident they were never pronounced from the pulpit. 

^'^ Gre^. Nazienzon. Orat. iv. pp. 110-113. To 6* ovv Trepi/SoTjTo*/ naa-i ^aO/txa, koX 
OvSe TOis aflcoi? avTo i? ani.a'TOOfj.ei'oy, ke^mv, ep\bfjiai. 

^Aramian. xxiii 1. Cum itaque rei fortiter instaret Alypius, juvaretque 
provincise rector, metuendiglobi flammarum prope fundament a crebrisassultibus 
erumpentes fecere locum exustis aliquoties opei antibus inaccessum ; hocque 
modo eleineuto destinatius repellente, cessavit inceptum. Warburton labors (pp. 
60-90) to extort a confession of the miracle from the mouths of Julian and Liba- 
nius, and to employ the evidence of a rabbi who lived in the fifteenth century. 
Such witnesses can only be received by a very favorable judge. 



* Michaelis has given an ingenious and sufficiently probable explanation of 
this remarkable incident, which the positive testimony of Ammianus, a con- 
temporary aiid a pagan, will not permit us to call in question. It was suggested 
by a passage in Tacitus. That historian, speaking of Jerusalem, says [I omit the 
first part of the quotation adduced by M. Guizot, which only by a most extraor- 
dinary mistranslation of muri introrsus sinuati by ^^en/oncemens" could be 
made to bear on the question. — M]. "The Temple itself was a kind of citadel, 
which had its own walls, superior in their workmanship and construction to 
those of the city. The porticos themselves, which surrounded the temple, were 
an excellent fortification. There was a fountain of constantly running water; 
subterranean excavations under the mountain ; reservoirs and cisterns to collect 
the rain-water.''^ Tac. Hist. v. ii. 12- These excavations and reservoirs must 
have been very considerable. The latter furnished water during the wholo siege 
of Jerusalem to 1,100,000 inhabitants, for whom the fountain of Siloe could not 
have sufliced, and who had no fresh rain-water, the siege having taken place 
from the month of April to the month of August, a peiiodof the year during 
which it rarely rains in Jerusalem. As to the excavations, they served after, and 
even before, the return of the Jews from Babylon, to contain liot only maj^azines 
of oil, wine, and corn, but also the treasures which were laid up in the 
Temple. Josephus has related several incidents which show their extent. When 
Jeru.salem was on the point of being taken by Titus, the rebel chiefs, placing 
their last hopes in these va.st subterranean cavities ruTroi/oMov?, vnoyaia, 6iaJpvx«?). 
formed a design of concealing themselves there, and remaining during the con- 
flagration of the city, and until the Romans had retired to a distance. The 
greater- part had Mot time to execute their design ; but one of them, Simon, the son 



332 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Such authority should satisfy a believing, and must astonish 
an incredulous, mind. Yet a ])hilosopl»er may still require 
the original evidence of imj^artial and intelligent spectators. 
At this important crisis, any singular accident of nature 
■would assume the appearance, and produce tlie effects, of a 
real ])rodigy. This glorious deliverance would he s];eedily 
improved and magnitied by the pious art of the clergy of 
Jerusalem, and the active credulity of the Christian m orld ; 
and, at the distance of twenty years, a Tioman historian, 
careless of theological disputes, might adorn his work with 
the specious and splendid miracle.^"* 

^ Dr. Lardner. perhaps alone of the Christian critics, presumes to doubt the 
truth of this famous miracle. (Jewish and Heathen Testimonies, vol. iv. p. 47- 
71. )t The silence of Jerom would lead to a suspii ion that the same siory which 
was celebrated at a distance, might be despised on the spot. 



of Gioras, having provided himself with food, and tools to excavate the earth, de- 
scended into this retreat wiih t-onie c< mpanions ; he remained theie till TiiUS 
had set out for Home : under the pressure of famine he issued forih f'li a suilden, 
in the very place where the Temple had stood, and appeared in the niidsi of the 
Roman guard. He was seized and carried to Kome for the triumph. His appear- 
ance made it be suspected that other Jews might have chosen the same asylum ; 
search was made, and a great number discovered. Joseph, de Isell. Jud. 1. vii. 
c. 2. It is probable that the greater part of these excavations were the remains 
of the time of Solomon, when it wa.s the custom to work to ;i great extent under 

f round : no other date can be assigned to them. The Jews, on thtir icturn 
rom the captivity, were too poor to undertake such works ; and, although 
Herod, on rebuilding the Temple, made some excavations (Josejih. Ant. Jud. xv. 
11, vii.), the haste with which that building was completed will not anp\\ us to 
suppose that they belonged to that period. Some were use<l for sewers and drains, 
others served to conceal the immense treasures, of which Crassus, a hundred and 
twenty years before, plundered the Jews, and which doubtless bad been ^ince 
replaced. The Temple was deslioyed A. I). 10 ; the attempt of Julian to rebuild 
it, and the fact related by Ammianus, coincide with the year 363. There had 
then elapsed betueen these two epochs an interval of near 300 years, during 
wliich the excavations, choked up w ith ruins, must have become full of inflam- 
mable air. The workmen emnloyed by Julian, as they were di":ging. arrived at 
the excavations of the Temple ; they would take torches to exjdore them ; sud- 
den llames repelled those who approached; explosions were heard, and these 
phenomena were renewed every time that they penetrated into new sub- 
terranean passages.* This explanation is confirmed by tlie relation of an event 
nearly similar, by elosephus. King lierod having heard that immense treasures 
had been concealed in the sepulchre of David, he descended into it with a few 
confidential persons ; he found in the first subterranean chamber only jew els antl 
precious stulfs ; but liaving wished to penetrate into a second i'hamber. which )iad 
been long closed, he was repelled, when he opened it, by llames which killed 
those who accompanied him. (.\nt. Jud. xvi. 7, i.) As here there is no room f»T 
miracle, this fact may be consideied as a new proof of the veracity of that re- 
lated by Ammianus and the contemporary writeis.— G. 

To the illustrations of the extent of the subterranean chambers addi-.cod by 
]\Ti<haeli8, raav be adderi. tbat when John c>f Gischala, during the siege, surprised 
tlie Temple, tiie party of Kleazar took refuge within them. Bell. Jud. > i. o, i. 
The ^'udden sinking of the hill of Sion when Jeru>alem was ot cuy>ied by I>ar- 
chocab, may liave been connected with similar excavations. IHst. of Jews, vol. 
iii. IL'2 and IM).— M. 

•It is a fact now popularly known, that when mines which have been long 
closed are opened, one of two things takts rlace ; either the torches r.io extin- 
guished and the men fall first into a swoon and soon die ; or, if the air is infiuni- 
mable. a little Hame is seen to fiicker round the lamp, whidi spreatls and multi- 
plies till the contiapration becomes general, is followed by an explosion, and till* 
all who arv. in the way. — (}. 

t Gibbon haa forgotten Basnage, to whom Warburton replied.— M. 



OF THE EOMA]sr EMPIRE. 333 

The restoration of the Jewish temple was secretly con- 
nected with the ruin of the Christian church. Julian still 
continued to maintain the freedom of religious worship, 
witliout distinixuishins: whether this universal toleration 
proceeded from his justice or his clemency. He affected to 
pity the unhappy Christians, who were mistaken in the most 
important object of their lives ; but his pity was de- 
graded by contempt, his contempt was inibittered by ha- 
tred ; and the sentiments of Julian were expressed in a style 
of sarcastic wit, which inflicts a deep and deadly wound, 
whenever it issues from the mouth of a sovereign. As he 
was sensible that the Christians gloried in the name of their 
Redeemer, he countenanced, and perhaps enjoined, the use 
of the less honorable appellation of Galil^ans.^^ He de- 
clared, that by the folly of the Galilaeans, whom he describes 
as a sect of fanatics, contemptible to men, and odious to the 
gods, the empire had been i-educed to the brink of destruc- 
tion ; and he insinuates in a public edict, that a frantic 
patient might sometimes be cured by salutary violence. ^^ 
An ungenerous distinction was admitted into the mind and 
counsels of Julian, that, according to the difference of their 
religious sentiments, one part of his subjects deserved his 
favor and friendship, while the other was entitled only to 
the common benefits that his justice could not refuse to an 
obedient people.^' According to a principle, pregnant with 
mischief and oppression, the emperor transferred to the 
pontiffs of his own religion the management of the liberal 
allowances from the public revenue, which had been 
granted to the church by the piety of Constantine and his 
eons. The proud system of clerical honors and immuni- 
ties, which had been constructed with so much art and 
labor, was levelled to the ground; the hopes of testamen- 
tary donations were intercepted by the rigor of the laws, 
and the priests of the Christian sect were confounded with 

^ Greg. Naz. Orat. iii. p. 81. And this law was confirmed by the invariable 

fractice of Julian himself. Warburton has justly observed (p. 35), that the 
latonists believed in the mysterious virtue of words ; and Julian's dislike for 
the name of C'hiist might proceed from superstition, as well as from contempt. 

^*^ Fragment. Julian, p. 2S8. Pfe derides the /uwpi'a raAtAacoji/ (Kpist. vii.), and 
Bo far loses sight of the princii^les of toleration, as to wish (Epist. xlii.) uKovrat 

tacrdai. 

*^ Ov yap /Lioi ^efxif e<rTt KOfii^enev ri iKeaipeiv 

A»'€pa?, oi Ke deoKTiv a.Tre)(0uiVT aOauaroiaiu- 

These two lines, which Julian has changed and perverted in the true spirit of a 

bigot (Epist. xlix.), are taken from the si>e(*ch of vKolus, when he refuses to grant 
Ulys.nes a fresh supply of winds (Odyss. X. 7.'1). J>ibaiiius (Orat. Parent, c lix. p. 
2iHJ) attempts to justify this partial behavior by an apology, in which persecution 
peeps through the mask of candor. 



334 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the last and most ignominious class of the people. Sunh of 
these regulations as appeared necessary to check the am- 
bition and avarice of the ecclesiastics, were soon afterwards 
imitated by the wisdom of an orthodox prince. The 
peculiar distinctions which policy has bestowed, or super- 
stition has lavished, on the sacerdotal order, must be con- 
fined to those priests who profess the religion of the state. 
But the will of the legislator was not exempt from prejudice 
and passion ; and it was the object of the insidious policy 
of Julian, to deprive the Christians of all the temporal 
honors and advantages which rendered them respectable in 
the eyes of the world.** 

A just and severe censure has been inflicted on the law 
which prohibited the Christians from teaching the arts of 
grammar and rhetoric.*^ The motives alleged by the em- 
peror to justify this partial and oppressive measure, might 
command, during his lifetime, the silence of slaves and 
the applause of flatterers. Julian abuses the ambiguous 
meaning of a word which might l)e indifferently applied to 
the language and the religion of the Greeks : he contempt- 
uously observes, that the men who exalt the merit of im- 
plicit faith are unfit to claim or to enjoy the advantages of 
science ; and he vainly contends, that if they refuse to adore 
the gods of Homer and Demosthenes, they ought to content 
themselves with expounding Luke and Matthew in the 
churches of the Galilaeans.^^ In all the cities of the Roman 
world, the education of the youth was intrusted to masters 
of grammar and rhetoric ; who were elected by the magis- 
trates, maintained at the public expense, and distinguished 
by many lucrative and honorable privileges. The edict of 
Julian appears to have included the physicians, and profes- 
sors of all the liberal arts ; and the emperor, who reserved 
to himself the approbation of the candidates, was authorized 
by the laws to corrupt, or to punish, the religious constancy 
of the most learned of the Christians.^^ As soon as the 

*8 These laws, which affected the clergy, may be found in the slight hints of 
Julian himself (Epist. lii.), in the vague declamations of Gregory (Orat. iii. pp. 86, 
87), and in the positive assertions of Sozomen (1. v. c. 5). 

8y Inclemens * * * ♦ perenni obruendum silentio. An\mian. xxii. 10, xxv. 
5. 

S3 The edict itself, which is still extant among the epistles of Julian (xlii.). may 
be compared with the loose invectives of Gregory (,Orat. iii. p. 90). Tillemont 
(Mem. Eccles. tom. vii. pp. 1291-]294> has collected the seeming dilTorences of an- 
cients and moderns. They may be easilv reconciled. The Christian; were <//?•< ctly 
forbid to teach, they were indirectly forbid to Icarr^ : since they would not fre- 
quent the schools of the Pagans. 

»' Codex Theodos. 1. xiii. tit. iii. de medicis et professoribus, leg.^ (ptiblished 
the 17th of June, received, at Spoleto in Italy, the 29th of July, A- D. 303), v.ith 
Godefroy's Illustrations, torn. v. p. 31. 



OP THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 335 

resignation of the more obstinate ^^ teachers had established 
the unrivalled dominion of the Pagan sophists, Julian in- 
vited the rising generation to resort with freedom to the 
public schools, in a just confidence, that their tender minds 
would receive the impressions of literature and idolatry. If 
the greatest part of the Christian youth should be deterred by 
their own scruples, or by those of their parents, from ac- 
cepting this dangerous mode of instruction, they must, at 
the same time, relinquish the benefits of a liberal education. 
Julian had reason to expect that, in the space of a few years^ 
the church would relapse into its primaeval simplicity, and 
that the theologians, who possessed an adequate share of 
the learning and eloquence of the age, would be succeeded 
by a generation of blind and ignorant fanatics, incapable of 
defending the truth of their own principles, or of exj^osing 
the various follies of Polytheism.^^ 

It was undoubtedly the wish and design of Julian to 
deprive the Christians of the advantages of wealth, of 
knowledge, and of power; but the injustice of excluding 
them from all offices of trust and profit seems to have been 
the result of his general policy, rather than the immediate 
consequence of any positive law.®* Superior merit might 
deserve, and obtain, some extraordinary exceptions ; but 
the greater part of the Christian officers were gradually 
removed from their employments in the state, the army, 
and the provinces. The hopes of future candidates were 
extinguished by the declared partiality of a prince, who 
maliciously reminded them, that it was unlawful for a 
Christian to use the sword, either of justice, or of war; and 
who studiously guarded the camp and the tribunals with 
the ensigns of idolatry. The powers of government were 
intrusted to the pagans, who professed an ardent zeal for 

M Orosius celebrates their disinterested resolution, Sicut a majoribus nostria 
compertum habenius, omnes ubique propemodum * ♦ ♦ * officium quam 
fidem deserere maluerunt, vii. 30. Proaeresius, a Christian sophist, refused to ac- 
cept the partial favor of the emperor. Hieronym. in Chron. p. 185, edit. Scaliger. 
Kunapius in Proseresio, p. 126. 

^ They had recourse to the expedient of composing books for their own schools. 
Within a few months Apollinaris produced his Christian imitations of Honier (a 
Bacred historv in twenty-four books), Pindar, Euripides, and Menander ; and 
Sozomen is satisfied, that they equalled, or excelled, the originals.* 

^ It was the instruction of Julian to his magistrates (Epist. vii)., wpoTLfj-av^ai 
jxeVToi Tov? ,c^eo(re/3er? Kal iravv 4>-qu.'i i>e'iv. Sozomen (1. V. c. 18) and hocrates (1, lii. 
c. 13) must be reduced to the standard of Gregory (Orat. iii. p. 95), not less ))rone 
to exaggeration, but more restrained by the actual knowledge of his contempor- 
ary readers. 



* Socrates, however, implies that, on the death of Julian, they were contempt- 
uously thrown aside by the Christians, twj' 6e oi n-orot iv i.<rf^ tov iin ypa(priya^ 
^oYi^ovTat. Socr. Hist. iii. 16.— M. 



336 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the religion of their ancestors ; and as the choice of the 
emperor was often directed by the rules of divination, the 
favorites whom he preferred as the most agreeable to the 
gods, did not always obtain the approbation of mankind/^^ 
Under the administration of their enemies, the Christians 
had much to suffer, and more to apprehend. The temper 
of Julian was averse to cruelty : and the care of his repu- 
tation, which was exposed to the eyes of the universe, re- 
strained the philosophic monarch from violating the laws of 
justice and toleration, which he himself had so recently 
established. But the provincial ministers of his authority 
were placed in a less conspicuous station. In the exercise 
of arbitrary power, they consulted the wishes, rather than 
the commands, of their sovereign ; and ventured to exercise 
a secret and vexatious tyranny against the sectaries, on 
whom they were not permitted to confer the honors of 
martyrdom. The emperor, who dissembled as long as pos- 
sible his knowledge of the injustice that was exercised in 
his name, expressed his real sense of the conduct of his 
officers, by gentle reproofs and substantial rewards.^® 

The most effectual instrument of oppression, with which 
they were armed, was the law that obliged the Christians to 
make full and ample satisfaction for the temples which they 
had destroyed under the preceding reign. The zeal of the 
triumphant church had not always expected the sanction of 
the public authority ; and the bishops, who were secure of 
impunity, had often marched at. the head of their congrega- 
tions, to attack and demolish the fortresses of the prince of 
darkness. The consecrated lands, which had increased the 
patrimony of the sovereign or of the clergy, were clearly 
defined, and easily restored. But on these lands, and on 
the ruins of Pagan superstition, the Christians had fre- 
quently erected their own religious edifices : and as it was 
necessary to remove the church before the temple could be 
rebuilt, the justice and piety of the emperor were applauded 
by one party, while the other deplored and execrated his 
sacrilegious violence.^'^ After the ground was cleared, the 
restitution of those stately structures which had been lev- 

"5 ■^r}(^cjr ^fuiv /cat 6toou? Kal /xrj St'Soi?. Libaiiius, Or.it. Parent, c. S8, p. 314. 

00 Greg. Naz. Orat. iii. pp. 74, 91, r»2. Socrates, 1. iii. c. 14. Theodoret, 1. iii. d 
C. Some drawback, may, liovvever, be allowed for the violence of (heir zeal, not 
less partial than the zeal of ,lulian. 

w If we compare the gentle language of Libanias (Orat. Parent, o. CO, p. 286) 
with the passion.ate exclamations of Gregory (Orat. iii. pp. 8(>, 87), we may find 
it difficult to persuade ourselves that the two orators are really describing the 
game events. 



OF THE KOMAX EMPIRE. 33T 

elled with the dust, and of tlie precious ornaments which 
had been converted to Christian uses, swelled into a very 
larire account of daniac^es and debt. The authors of the in- 
jury liad neither the ability nor the inclination to discharge 
this accumulated demand : and the inipai'tial wisdom of a 
legislator would liave been displayed in balancing the ad- 
verse claims and complaints, by an equitable and temperate 
arbitration. But the whole em})ire, and ])articularly the 
East, was thrown into confusion by the rash edicts of Ju- 
lian; and the Pagan magistrates, inflamed by zeal and 
revenge, abused the rigorous privilege of the Roman law, 
which substitutes, in the place of his inadequate property, 
the person of the insolvent debtor. Under the preceding 
reign, JVIaik, bishop of Arethusa,^^ had labored in the con- 
version of his people with arms more effectual than those of 
persuasion.^^ The magistrates required the full value of a 
temple which had been destroyed by his intolerant zeal; 
but as they were satisfied of liis poverty, they desired only 
to bend his inflexible spirit to the promise of the slightest 
compensation. They apprehended the aged prelate, they 
inhumanly scourged him, they tore his beard ; and his naked 
body, anointed with honey, was suspended, in a net, be- 
tween heaven and earth, and ex])osed to the stings of insects 
and the rays of a Syrian sun.-^^'^ From this lofty station, 
Mark still persisted to glory in his (*rime, and to insult the 
imjootent rage of his persecutors. He was at length rescued 
from their hands, and dismissed to enjoy the honor of his 
divine triumph. The Arians celebrated the virtue of their 
pious confessor ; the Catholics ambitiously claimed his alli- 
ance ;^*'^ and the Pagans, who might be suscei3tible of shame 

°8 Rcstan, or Aretliusa, at the equal distance of sixteen miles between En^esa 
(//.;m.s) ami Epiijliauia (//ama,'/i), was founded, or at least named, by Seleucus 
Klcator. Its peculiar agra dates from the year of Rome 085, according to the 
medals of the city. In tlie (iecline of the Seleucides, Eniesa and Arethusa were 
usurped by tixe Arab Sanipsiceramus, whose posterity, the vassals of Rome, were 
not extinguished in the reij^n of Vespasian. See D'Anville's Maps and Geogra- 
phic Ancieime, torn. ii. p. 134. Wesseling, Ilineraria, p. 188, and Noris. Epoch. 
Syro-Macedon. i>[). 80, 4f?l, 482. 

0^ Sozomen, I, v. o. 10. It is surprising that Gregory and Theodoret should sup- 
press a circumstance, which, in their eyes, must liave eidianced the religiouri 
merit of the confe.s.sor. 

^''*> The sufferings and constancy of Mark, which Gregory has tragically painted 
(Orat. iii. ))p. 88-91), are contirmca by the unexceptionable and reluctant evi- 
dence of Libanius. Map/co? ckcivo? Kpefxafxevo?, Kal fJ.acTTLyovfxei'O';, kol tov ntoyuivoi 
avTijj TiAAo/xeVov, navra eueyKtov ai'Spetaj? vvu tcr6,>c6? ecrri Tat? Ti/aai?, xac ^O-vy wov, 
Trepi'aaxTVTo? ewjv?. Epist. 730, pp. 330, 351. Edit. Wolf, Anistel. 17.38. 

^'1 IlepiuaYrjTo?, certatim euiu sibi ((Jhrisiiani) vindlcant. It is thus that La 
Croze and Woliius <ad loc.) have explained a Greek word, whose true signilication 
ha<l been mistaken by foi-mer interpreters, .and even by Le Clerc (Bibliothtque 
An<;icnne et IModcme, torn. iii. p. 371). Yet Tillemont is strangely puzzled to un- 
derstand (Mem. Eccles. torn. vii. p. 1309) how Gregory and Theodoret could mis- 
take a Semi-Arian hisliop for a saint. 

Vol. II.— 22 



838 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

or remorse, were deterred from the repetition of sucli un- 
availing cruelty .■^^■^ Julian spared his life ; but if the bishop 
of Arethusa had saved the infancy of Julian, ^^* posterity 
will condemn the ingratitude instead of praising* the clem- 
ency, of the emperor. 

At the distance of five miles from Antioch, the Macedo- 
nian kings of Syria had consecrated to Apollo one of the 
most elegant places of devotion in the Pagan world.^'^^ A 
magnificent temple rose in honor of the god of light ; and his 
colossal figure ^°^ almost filled the capacious sanctuary, which 
Avas enriched with gold and gems, and adorned by the skill 
of the Grecian artists. The deity was represented in a 
bending attitude, with a golden cup in his hand, pouring 
out a libation on the earth ; as if he supplicated the vener- 
able mother to give to his arms the cold and beauteous 
Daphne : for the spot was ennobled by fiction ; and the 
fancy of the Syrian poets had transported the amorous tale 
from the banks of the Peneus to those of the Orontes. The 
ancient rites of Greece were imitated bv the roval colony of 
Antiocb. A stream of prophecy, which rivalled the truth 
and reputation of the Delphic oracle, flowed from the Cas- 
talian fountain of Daphne.^^^ In the adjacent fields a 
stadium was built by a special privilege,^*^" which had been 
purchased from Elis : the Olympic games were celebrated 
at the expense of the city ; and a revenue of thirty thousand 
pounds sterling was annually a})plied to the public pleas- 
ures.^^^ The perpetual resort of j^ilgrims and spectators 

102 See the probable advice of Sallust (Greg. Naziaiizen, Orat. iii. pp. 90, 91). 
Libanius intercedes for a similar offender, lest tliey should find many Marks: yet 
he allows, that if Orion had secreted the consecrated Avealth, he deserved to 
suffer the punishment of Marsyas ; to be flayed alive (Epist. 7:^0, pp. :!4i)-3ol.) 

It* Gregory (Orat. iii. p. 90) is satisfied that, by saving the apostate, Mark had 
deserved ttiu more than he had suffered. 

i'J4 The grove and temple of Daphne are described by Strabo (I. xvi. pp. 1089, 
1090, edit. Amstel. 1707). Libanius (Naenia, pp. 185-188. Antiochic. Orat. xi. pp. 380, 
381), and Sozomen (1. v. c. 19). Wesseling (Itinerar. p. 581) and Casaubon (ad 
Hist. August, p. 61) illustrate this curious subject. 

I'Ji* Simulacrum in eoOlympiaci Jovis imitamenti aiquipaians magnitudinem. 
Ammian. xxii. 13. The Olympic Jupiter was sixty feet high, and his bulk \va» 
consequently equal to that of a thousand men. See a curious Memoirt of the 
Abbe Gedoyii (Academie des Inscriptions, tom. ix. p. 198). 

1^ Hadrian read the history or his future fortunes on a leaf dipped in the 
Castalian stream ; a trick which, according to tlie physician Vandale (,de Oracu- 
lis, pp. 281, 282), might be easily performed by chemical preparations. The em- 
peror stopped the source of such dangerous knowledge ; which was again opened 
by the devout curiosity of Julian. 

lOJ It was purchased, A. I). 41, in the year 92 of the ara of Antioch (Noris. 
Epoch. Syro-]Maced. pp. 139-174), for the term of ninety Olympiads. But the 
Olympic games of Antioch were not regularly celebrated till the reign of Corn- 
modus. See the curious details in the Chronicle of John JNIalala (tom. i. pp. 290, 
320, 372-381), a Avriter whose merit and authority are conlined within the limits of 
his native citv. 

1"^ Fifteen "talents of gold, bequeathed by Sosibius, who died in the reign of 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 339 

insensibly formed, in the neighborhood of the temple, the 
stately and populous village of Daphne, which emulated tlie 
splendor, without acquiring the title, of a provincird city. 
The temple and the village were dce))ly bosomed in a 
thick grove of laurels and cypresses, which readied as far 
as a circumference of ten miles, and formed in the most 
sultry summers a cool and impenetrable shade. A thou- 
sand streams of the purest water, issuing from every hill, 
preserved the verdure of the earth, and the temperature 
of the air ; the senses were gratified with harmonious 
sounds and aromatic odors ; and the peaceful grove was 
consecrated to health and joy, to luxury and love. The vig- 
orous youth pursued, like Apollo, the object of his desires; 
and the blushing maid was warned, by the fate of Daphne, 
to shun the folly of unseasonable coyness. The soldier and 
the philosopher wisely avoided the temptation of this sensual 
paradise ; ^^^ where pleasure, assuming the character of re- 
ligion, imperceptibly dissolved the firmness of manly virtue. 
But the groves of Daphne continued for many ages to enjoy 
the veneration of natives and strangers ; the privileges of 
the holy ground were enlarged by tlie munificence of suc- 
ceeding emperors ; and every generation added new orna- 
ments to the splendor of the temple.^^'^ 

When Julian, on the day of the annual festival, hastened 
to adore the Apollo of Dajjhne, his devotion w^as raised to 
the highest pitch of eagerness and impatience. His lively 
imagination anticipated the grateful pomp of victims, of 
libations, and of incense ; a long procession of youths and 
virgins, clothed in white robes, the symbol of their inno- 
cence ; and the tumultuous concourse of an innumerable 
people. But the zeal of Antioch was diverted, since the 
reign of Christianity, into a different channel. Instead of 
hecatombs of fat oxen sacrificed by the tribes of a wealthy 
city to their tutelar deity, the emperor complains that he 
found only a single goose, provided at the expense of a 
priest, the pale and solitary inhabitant of this decayed teni- 



Augustus. The theatrical merits of the Syrian cities, in the age of Constantino, 
are compared in the Expositio totius Mundi, p. 6 (Hudson, Geograpli. Minor, 
torn. iii.). 

i^^J Avidio Cassio Syriacas legiones dedi luxuria diffluentes et Daphnicia mori- 
bus. Tliese are the vvoids of tlie emperor ]\Iarcus Antoninus in an original 
letter preserved by his biographer in Hist. August, p. 41. Cassias dismissed or 
punished every soldier who was seen at Daphne. 

Ji*^ Aliquantum agrornm Daphnensibns dedit (/'rtm;)^//). quo lucus ibi f^patio- 
Bior fieret ; delectatus anwiiitate loci et ariuarum abundantia. Eutropius, vi. 
14. Sextus liufus, de Provinciis, c. IG. 



340 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

ple."^ The altar was deserted, the oracle had been reduced 
to silence, and the holy ground was profaned by the intro- 
duction of Christian and funereal rites. After Babylas "'^ (a 
bishop of Antioch, who died in prison in the persecution of 
Decius) had rested near a century in his grave, his body, by 
the order of Caesar Gallus, was transported into the midst of 
the grove of Daphne. A magnificent church Avas erected 
over his remains ; a portion of tlie sacred lands was usurped 
for the maintenance of the clero^v, and for the burial of the 
Christians of Antioch, who were ambitious of